November 2, 2009

Convenience Foods - Chicken Stock

A little work now will reap several quarts of chicken stock for your freezer to use later. In this tight economy, making something from scratch will also save you money.

Whenever I make chicken for dinner, the bones are put in zippered freezer bags and saved in the freezer. Anytime I use onions or carrots or other "soup" veggies, the peels, tops and bottoms are also saved. Celery leaves, garlic skins, the ends of peppers, leftover tomato slices, and more are added to the "stash".

Usually, I save veggies leftover from dinner (a spoonful of corn, or a half cup of peas, etc) in a separate bag. I don't care for these in stock, but they could be used for that purpose. I use mine in chicken pot pie or casseroles instead, like a frozen form of Veg-All.

When I have enough chicken bones and veggie scraps, or when the freezer is too full, all the bags are emptied into the stockpot, water is added, and the pot simmers all day long. Adding a splash of apple cider vinegar will help draw calcium out of the bones. When it's done, I strain the solids from the broth, then run the broth a second time through muslin or cheesecloth, and refrigerate so I can remove the fat after it cools. This last time I ended up with 5 quarts of broth for a day's work, but it isn't a full day, just a few minutes here and there.

Either keep this refrigerated, or freeze in zip-topped bags or freezer containers. If you wish to can the stock, you must use a pressure canner.

It's not only free, since it's made from what is essentially throwaway bones and scraps, it's also sodium-free unless you decide to add salt. It's thick - gelatenous - you can't pour it out of the jar like you do the canned stuff from the store. It's so much better for you too. If you want a richer stock, just cook it down for awhile with the top off the pot.

What can you make with this stock?
Chicken soup, chicken stew, chicken'n'noodles; add to casseroles and other recipes that call for stock or broth.

Index of Convenience Foods posts:

Part One - Spice Mixes

Part Two - Chili Mac

Part Three - Ground Beef

Part Four - Dump Chicken

Part Five - Make Ahead

Part Six - Pizza Crust

Part Seven - Pies

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