Economical (and Easy!) Homemade Chicken Stock

We love love love roast chicken.  Especially on a Sunday evening when the house has been calm all day and I’m happy to unwind with a cozy meal.  I buy delicious free-range chickens from our wonderful co-op, and every roast chicken comes out of the oven juicy and flavorful even when I season with nothing more than some salt, lemon and garlic.  Sometimes I season with cumin and chili powder  to make a Mexican style bird, and other times I season with oregano and lemon if I’m in the mood for Greek roast chicken.

Regardless of how I prepare a roast chicken, I am always careful to save all the bones and skin so I can make a simple and economical chicken stock.  Many homemade stock recipes call for a whole chicken and whole vegetables.  But, since we are living on a budget I can’t justify spending $20+ on ingredients to make a few pints of chicken stock.  So, I improvise to stretch what we already have.

I like this method because A) its essentially FREE, B) I control how much salt is added – most store-bought stocks are LOADED with sodium and C) its a great way to re-use and re-duce; less trash thrown into the landfill.

To make several pints of a simple chicken stock, all you need:

*Leftover bones & skin from a well-eaten roast chicken

*Vegetable bits and pieces – I keep a bag of these in my freezer. Whenever I prepare vegetables, I save the tops and ends and store them in the freezer. Once I’ve accumulated a decent amount I make homemade vegetable stock or use up some in this chicken stock.

*Any pan juices that accumulated while the chicken roasted in the oven

Drop all of the ingredients into a large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for many hours – at least 3 but up to 24. The longer it simmers, the better it will taste.

Once you’re done simmering, strain the liquid into storage containers (I use a mesh sieve, but cheesecloth also works well).  Discard the bones and veggies.  Put the broth into the fridge over night.  Once the broth is cool, remove from fridge and skim the fat off the top. At this point, you can use the stock or freeze it.

Keep this method in mind when Thanksgiving rolls around – turkey stock is a great substitute for chicken stock!

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6 Comments for this entry

  1. katie says:

    I love making homemade broth/stock & also save bits & pieces for this purpose. However, I then make it in my crock pot… 10 hours of cooking while I’m out and about is amazing!

  2. Kristie says:

    I make mine in a crock pot as well and it’s great— the crock pot uses significantly less energy than your stove top as well 🙂 I’ve also heard putting 1T vinegar in for every 4 cups of water helps extract the good stuff from the bones

  3. kathy says:

    i read to add a tablespoon of white vinegar. it helps leech out vitamins and minerals from the bones and it does seem to make a difference> my stock is richer and tastes better(no vinegar taste). i see you put your broth in mason jars. do you process it like canning or just put the lids on? im new to all this stuff and just learning.wish i had known all this when my children were little, but you are never to old to start. just found your site and it is exceptional. thanks

    • Maureen says:

      I don’t process the broth – I believe I’d need a pressure canner to do that, and right now I only use a boiling water bath to can high-acid foods. I actually freeze the broth in the mason jars – works great!

  4. Erin says:

    About how many pints does this make?

    • Maureen says:

      You can add 10-12 cups of water to the pot – some of it will evaporate during the process, though. It really just depends on how much water you start with.

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