I’m a bone collector. Open my freezer and you’ll find bags of bones that I’ve saved over time. Leftover carcasses from past roast chickens, a large tomahawk bone from a lovely dinner at Lupo, hollow marrow bones, unused chicken necks, ribs of all sizes, etc. I bring home every good bone from a restaurant meal (they assume I have a dog) and save ones from home cooked meals. In ziplock bags, I sort them into two types. Poultry bones get mixed together. Pork, lamb and beef in another. Once I’ve collected too much that my freezer has no room for anything else, I take an afternoon and make a pot of stock with Paul’s giant, trusty stock pot.
To make a basic chicken stock all you need are onion, carrots, celery and a whole chicken or lots of chicken parts, and bones. I also like to put goji berries in for good measure. I normally put in garlic, bay leaves and peppercorn but I’ve also made it without. After a few hours of simmering, your home will smell utterly amazing and a nourishing bowl of broth will be within reach for those days when you’re down with a cold or making a sauce in a pan that needs deglazing. There’s nothing more comforting and essential than homemade stock and having it frozen on hand is golden.
Once you’re done, strain the stock and portion it out into Tupperware containers or ice cube trays. Once the ice cubes freeze you can store them in ziplock bags. Save the shredded chicken meat for things like stir fries, salads, pasta sauces, adding it to noodles soups, or making a fantastic Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad. Use the broth to make a tastier Hearty Lentil Soup or an Instant Seafood Tagliatelle. This is the soup that keeps on giving.
Basic Chicken Stock
What you need:
1 whole chicken, or a mix of chicken parts and bones (as much as you can fill your pot with room on top for the soup to bubble)
4 medium sized carrots, roughly chopped
6 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 large onion, quartered
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
a handful of goji berries
a handful of black peppercorns
What to do:
- If you’re using a whole chicken, wash it well with salt all over and inside the cavity.
- Add the chicken, parts and/or bones into a pot.
- Let it boil then simmer for 20 minutes before tossing out the water and filling the pot again.
- Add the rest of the ingredients.
- Fill with water until 1 inch above the chicken.
- Turn heat to high and let boil. Once it comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer.
- Cook for 2 hours if you’re only using a whole chicken. Cook for 3-4 hours if you’re using a mix with chicken bones.
- Season to taste
- Strain and freeze.