Thursday, January 2, 2014

Homemade Chicken Stock- Easy, Healthy and Cheap

I feel like I have posted about making homemade stock about a million times but it such a simple thing to do that is a great step to ensure you are feeding your family wholesome foods.

Last week I got some turkey wings at Whole Foods for only .59 a pound- what a deal, huh? I'm kicking myself that I didn't buy more to freeze. I find that turkey adds a richer flavor to stock so I figured adding them in with the chicken would result in awesomeness.

I roasted the wings until they were cooked to temperature. At this point I could have taken any meat off to use in another dish but I hate turkey wing meat so I left it on.

See these veggies? They are all things that normally get thrown away but I save them in a big bag in my freezer until I have enough to make stock. I like to have a good mix of celery, carrots and onions.

Here is my chicken carcass bucket. Whenever we have chicken for dinner I throw the remains in this (after getting as much meat off of it first, of course) so I can make stock- it doesn't look too appetizing but believe me, this chicken will contribute much flavor to the stock I am making.

I added the chicken carcass and turkey wings to the pot along with a couple of bay leaves. Yes, bay leaves are mandatory; they elevate the flavor of the stock to a whole new level. 

Then I filled the pot with water- it doesn't quite cover everything but don't worry, after some simmering everything will be submerged.

I simmered everything for a few hours, giving it the occasional stir, and here is what it ended up looking like. Not pretty but the smell that permeated my house was wonderful.

Now for the not so fun part. To strain the broth I now use a strainer- before I was using cheesecloth or paper towels but honestly a strainer works just as well and ends up being cheaper to use. Yes, a strainer will allow some tiny bits to get through but I like that- it makes the broth have a more rustic vibe. Once strained you can discard the veggies and bones.

Here is the finished product- just look at the color of that stock! Let the stock cool and then cover and place in the fridge. Once the stock is chilled through all of the fat will rise to the top- scoop it off and then you are good to go! You have a huge bowl of delicious homemade stock that tastes light years better than anything you can buy at the store. It is also healthier and cheaper. I do want to warn you that your stock will most likely have a jelly like consistency- that is actually a good thing! Once heated it will turn to a liquid again.

This particular batch netted me twelve cups of stock- I portioned it out in one and two cup portions and it is all in my chest freezer just waiting to be used. As for the cost, the only thing I bought was the turkey wings which were about $1.50. Everything else were things that would have normally been thrown away, well except for the two bay leaves but I'm sure those were pretty cheap. Even if this batch cost me $2, that is a pretty great price for twelve cups of high quality chicken stock! When I forgo buying meat for the stock my cost drops to almost zero (which is what I do 99% of the time).

If you haven't tried making your own stock yet, what are you waiting for? It is so easy and cheap that what have you got to lose?

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