Fancy bone broth is so popular these days, and that’s exactly what you’ll get with this economical, easy-to-make pot of liquid gold!
One of my favorite comfort foods is a slow roasted chicken. It’s easy to prepare, smells heavenly while cooking, and usually provides leftovers for another meal.
Once you’ve picked the chicken off the bones, save them! They can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week or frozen if you can’t get to them right away.
While you’re at it, save your veggie scraps–carrot peelings, ends from celery, mushrooms, onions, even kale stems–to use in your stock as well. I often keep a bag in my freezer and add the scraps as I have them. Then there’s no need to buy more when ready to make the stock.
After the Thanksgiving turkey has been enjoyed, I make turkey stock with this same method. Though there is a subtle flavor difference, I use chicken and turkey stocks interchangeably.
With stock, there’s no need to worry too much about precise measurements and adhering strictly to the recipe; you may use the recipe below as a basic framework.
My stock is a little different each time depending on what is in my vegetable drawer or what I’ve stashed in the freezer. Sometimes, I might not have fresh herbs. The last time, I forgot the bay leaves. Basically, the more veggies, the richer your stock will be.
When I don’t have a sufficient supply of vegetable scraps, I cut off the stem ends of my carrots and celery so I’m only using the pieces we wouldn’t eat anyway. (My grandmother–always one to economize and never ever waste–totally would have done this, too!)
My sister-in-law, Melissa, calls this stock “liquid gold.” And it truly is. The homemade broth adds incredible flavor to soups and stews and serves as a soothing, healing elixir when suffering from colds and viruses.
A note on sodium: I don’t add any salt while making this stock and find I can get away with a few pinches when using it in a recipe. Those who are looking to reduce their sodium content will likely find this to be a satisfying alternative to sodium-rich, store-bought broths–and far richer than the no-sodium broths.
What vegetables and herbs are best to use in homemade stock?
- a few kale or chard stems (too many kale stems will create a green tint)
- leeks, shallots, and scallions
- herbs like parsley, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaves
What vegetables should I not use in homemade stock?
- potatoes (regular or sweet)
- cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc. (with the kale/chard stem exception I make above)
- leafy greens
- winter and summer squash
- strong tasting herbs like cilantro and rosemary (or use a very small amount)
What about all the other vegetables?
There are so many possibilities, and generally speaking, a small addition of certain vegetables may enhance flavor–while too much may overpower. Some of these “in between” veggies that come to mind are bell peppers and green beans. Herbs are much the same way; they can add lovely flavor, but err on less is more if not sure.
Similarly, a starchy vegetable like corn won’t impact the flavor negatively, but it will make the stock cloudy.
Helpful hint: If you’d like to deepen the golden flavor, add a few onion peels.
Follow these simple guidelines for quarts of healthy, luscious, golden stock that can be used in a myriad of ways. (And click here for my falling-off-the-bone Slow Roasted Chicken recipe!)
- Bones from one whole chicken or turkey
- Giblets and neck if you saved them
- 1 onion, skin on, cut in half
- 1 head garlic, skin on, cut in half horizontally
- 2-3 carrots, cut into chunks
- 2-3 celery stalks, including any leaves, cut into chunks
- Leftover ends of other veggies, if desired, such as leeks, mushrooms, kale stems, etc.
- 1-2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
- Several sprigs fresh parsley and/or thyme or 2 teaspoons each, dried
- 2-3 bay leaves
Put all of the above ingredients in a very large, heavy-bottomed pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and immediately reduce heat to low. Keep at barely a simmer (uncovered) for three hours. The stock will be better if you do not keep it at a rolling boil. Add water as necessary to cover the bones and vegetables.
After three hours, remove from heat and allow to cool to a point that the stock won’t burn you. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer (see notes) into another large pot and cool completely in the refrigerator. Any fat will rise to the top once cooled and may be easily skimmed off the surface before transferring to containers for storage.
•If you do not have a fine-mesh strainer, simply line your strainer/colander with cheese cloth. Then you can squeeze the cheese cloth to extract every last bit of stock. I also have someone hold the strainer so it doesn’t slip.
•I like to freeze in quart or pint-size deli containers. Freezer bags also work well and can be frozen flat and thawed quickly. The bags with the stand-up bottom will make getting the stock in much easier.
•Date the containers and mark the amount of stock (i.e., one cup, two cups) so you can thaw the amount you need for any given recipe.