Ok, so you have successfully made Grandma Shirley’s Secret Chicken Recipe, now what do you do with the bones? You could just throw them in the compost pile, they will end up there eventually anyways, but why not get some more use out of them first? Why not make chicken stock?
If you have made the investment in a pasture-raised chicken why not get all you can out of it? The bones of a my chickens are stronger and more full of nutrients than your average chicken bones. Don’t believe me? Do a very scientific test, try to break them. They are so much harder to break than a store-bought bird.
Making chicken stock is easy
I screw things up all the time. I will be the first one to say it. The only difference is that I usually do it with flare and I look for the best in the situation. Most good inventions were probably discovered by accident. I am sure if you traced the origins of stock back through time, people were just boiling the bones (and whatever else) to get any last bit of nutrition out of them.
It is hard to screw up making stock. You put a bunch of scraps in a pot, cover it with water, and let it simmer for a while on the stove top. There are certainly a few things you want to be careful of, and I will cover all of those in the directions below.
Most of the “you must not do this” advice is for perfectionists. If your stock comes to a boil you will be fine as long as you turn it down, if you don’t have a good strainer you’re still fine. There is a lot of info on the web about making the “perfect chicken stock” which you can Google. I just want to get your foot in the door with this post and give you the basics. I know a lot of my CSA members are families, working moms, or simply just people on the go. Stock takes a little longer than roasting a chicken, but it is largely a set-it-and-forget-it kind of thing.
After the pictures, stick around because I will highlight some of the things I use stock for that you might not have thought of. Stock is definitely worth taking the time to learn how to make.
Making chicken stock couldn’t be easier!
Note: You can add salt at any time during this process. Don’t over-do it. You can always add more salt, you cannot always take it out. I just leave it out and add it as needed when I know what I am going to use the stock for.
The many uses of chicken stock:
- Really simple chicken soup (add chicken, carrots, noodles, celery, and garlic, salt & pepper to taste)
- A base for any soup
- Use instead of water when cooking rice
- Throw some in when making mashed potatoes
- Just boil noodles and eat while watching re-runs of Friends when you are home sick
- Add a splash when sauteing vegetables for added depth of flavor
- Freeze in ice cubes and give to your dog on a hot day, just do it outside as it might make your floor smell delicious
- Most things you use water for in recipes you can substitute stock, just use your imagination.
Benefits of chicken stock
- Boosts immunity
- Boosts your minerals
- Improves Bone Density
- Aids digestion
- Easy and versatile ingredient
Difference between broth and stock
Essentially nothing. Stock is made with scraps and bones, broth is made with chunks of meat. You can add some meat to stock to make it heartier. Also some will say that broth has salt, stock does not. The solution there seems obvious, add salt to your stock.
Broth is considered a finished product that you can eat by itself. If you make your stock right it’s basically the same thing. Just add a little salt and perhaps a few things (meat, veggies, herbs, seasoning) while you are simmering.