A roasted chicken goes a long way in our house. It is one of those easy dishes that requires very little prep. Stuffing the cavity with a whole lemon cut in half, a whole garlic bulb cut in half, some thyme, salt, and pepper creates the simplest of flavors. Smear the body with soft butter, lots of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, toss in the oven for about an hour and a half. Serve it with some roasted carrots and some sort of green and dinner is on the table for just a few bucks.
Rarely does all the chicken meat get consumed. Left overs get shredded, made into enchiladas, soft tacos, or thrown into soups. The carcass gets tossed into a big stock pot along with some chicken necks, lots of roots, vegetables, and herbs. Cover with water, bring to a boil, cover it and let it simmer for 24 hours.
I have mentioned over and over again how much I love and value my freezer. One can always find bolognese, marinara, pesto, vegetable stock, buttermilk, egg whites, various cookie doughs, and this chicken stock. The stock gets used for soups, sauces, casseroles, and so much more. I love opening up my freezer door and seeing all of my containers, lined up, in rows, by category (don’t judge). Having jars and containers on hand, allows full creative freedom in the kitchen. Oh, so fun!!
Making homemade stocks costs pennies. A $22.00 organic chicken can feed my family of five for dinner, leftover chicken becomes lunch the next day, and the carcass, combined with everyday vegetable staples, makes about 4-6 quarts of stock. Such satisfaction in all of it!
Grandma Rose’s Homemade Chicken Stock
My grandma used to make chicken stock for our Friday night dinners. She would shred the chicken she used in the stock, add some carrots, and a small, square egg noodle, she called “chipkulah”(which is Yiddish for who the heck knows what). This is a modern version of her soup/stock.
yield: 4-6 quarts
1-2 pounds chicken feet
2 pounds chicken backs (ask your butcher)
3 parsnips, cleaned
4 carrots, cleaned
3 stalks celery
2 leeks, green part only, cleaned *
1 large brown onion, cut into quarters (not peeled)
1 whole garlic bulb, cut into half (not peeled)
fronds and stalk from one fennel bulb
1/2 bunch of Italian parsley
10 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
• wash the necks and place on a dish towel or paper towels to rest while you prep the rest of your ingredients.
• don’t peel your veggies. simply wash them and scrub lightly with a vegetable brush.
• using a very large stock pot, put feet and backs into the pan. add the rest of the ingredients.
• cover the entire contents with filtered water.
• bring the pot to a boil.
• once boiled, turn the flame down to simmer, cover the pot and simmer for 24 hours.
• let the stock cool completely before straining.
• once cool, place a large strainer over another large stock pot.
• discard proteins and vegetables and transfer the stock to individual, quart size containers. leave an inch between the top of the stock to the top of the jar. liquids expand when you freeze them, so you always want to leave enough room for them to expand.
* when I bring my leeks home from the farmers market, I immediately cut off the green part. I cut the white part in half and soak both the white and the green part in warm water. after 15 minutes, change out the water and soak one more time. leeks can be very dirty vegetables. when you soak them, you will see grainy, gritty material at the bottom of your sink. wrap the green and the whites in paper towels, separately. save the greens for either vegetable or chicken stalk, it gives the stock such a rich and wonderful flavor.