I am giving you guys full disclosure on this post: I have three reasons to make homemade chicken stock. First, it saves you money; second, it’s an efficient way to utilize kitchen scraps; and third, it lets you control sodium. For years, I purchased organic chicken broth, which I used to cook rice, stews, soups, or for any recipe that required a liquid. Then, I saw a video on making homemade chicken stock and I was hooked. I loved the idea of using kitchen scraps and feel less wasteful. Since that day, I make my own stock.
There are several schools of thought when it comes to making homemade stocks. Some suggest not to season the stock, while others suggest using meat only. I have tried both and discovered that there is a difference, but it all comes down to taste and your personal preference. For example, when cooking quinoa or rice, which are bland to begin with, I use chicken stock to enrich the flavor. The homemade chicken stock that I am describing is similar to a great bottle of wine that is full bodied.
And this recipe is definitely full bodied– it yields the best results of a chicken stock that is rich in flavor and has no fat. You want the stock to be thick and gelatinous, similar to gelatin when cooled. The gelatinous effect is due to the collagen that is extracted from the bones and connective tissues. A gelatinous-quality stock is also ideal for deglazing pans, or it can be used to replace butter or cream when making a sauce.
What is my secret to a gelatinous stock? Chicken feet! I didn’t believe it until I tried it, and dang! What a difference. How do you achieve great, rich flavor? I use leftover roasted chicken carcass. My final secret is using kitchen scraps. As you are cooking or making a salad, save the scraps in a Ziploc blag. These can be onion skins, the ends of carrots, carrot peels, and herbs. Basically, whatever you plan to discard, save and refrigerate or freeze until you are ready to make the stock. (I recommend you label and date the containers.)
Let me know what you think and don’t be discouraged by the chicken feet, which you can buy at Whole Foods. Enjoy, from my kitchen to yours!
- ½ pound chicken feet
- 1 roasted chicken carcass
- 1 onion with skin
- 3 carrots, ends and peel
- 2-3 thyme sprigs
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt (3-4 finger pinch)
- 7 quarts water
- Utilizing an 8-quart stockpot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Cut onion into four sections and add to the pot along with onion skin and chicken feet, and brown for 10 minutes, tossing periodically.
- Cut the carrots into thick wedges. Add roasted carcass, carrots, thyme, salt, plus any scraps you saved to the pot.
- Fill the pot with cold water, cover pot with lid, and lower stove temperature to a simmer. After two hours, turn off heat and uncover to cool stock.
- If you plan to use the stock within two days after it cools, strain into plastic deli containers and store in refrigerator. If not, freeze stock and defrost in the refrigerator a day before you plan to use it.