Chicken stock. I used to spend a butt load of money on it. Until I decided to make my own. The reason I never made my own is because it just seemed more convenient to grab a box of stock. But at $5.99 a pop, I decided to buy a $5 chicken and use up veggies that I always have on hand to make some stock. Today I made $25 worth of chicken stock for about $9 bucks. And I also have enough chicken leftovers from said stock to make 2-3 more meals. And it was probably one of the easiest things I've ever done in the kitchen.
Here's What You Need:
1 whole chicken (rinsed...liver, heart, other bloody, slimy stuff removed, but keep the neck, )
1 large onion
1 head of garlic
4 stalks of celery
(excuse my measurements) A handful of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme (great song)!
3 bay leaves
Salt & Pepper
Enough Water to cover the chicken
Here's What To Do:
Cut the onion in to quarters. No need to peel it, but if you want to, go ahead. I did, just because I'm weird like that. Cut the head of garlic in half. Again, no need to take off the paper. And no, I wasn't weird like that with the garlic. Screw peeling the paper off of all those cloves! Cut the lemon in half. Rinse the carrots and celery and cut into large chunks. Wrap up the parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme in some cheesecloth, or don't...see how easy this is??
Now, get a large stock pot on medium heat. Add in the onion, garlic, lemon, carrots, celery, parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, chicken and water (add in enough water to JUST cover the chicken). Add in about 3 tablespoons of salt and a TON of black pepper. And by a ton, I mean crank your pepper mill until your arm gets tired. Bring this little witchy concoction to a boil and cover and simmer for about 3 hours, until your chicken is 180 degrees when poked and prodded with a digital thermometer.
Get a large bowl and put a colander in it. Now dump everything in your stock pot into the strainer, being careful not to overflow the bowl, losing all your delicious stock. At this point, you can put your chicken aside, wait for it to cool and then shred it or chop it up and make about 1 million things with it. Chicken tacos, chicken Enchiladas, chicken salad, chicken pasta, chicken and rice casserole, chicken lasagna, chicken noodle soup, chicken milkshake...whatever you want, really.
Chicken soft tacosLet your stock cool for about 30 minutes and pour it into whatever freezable container you have. I fortunately am addicted to hot and sour soup, so I have a ton of plastic containers from the local Chinese restaurant that I used. Fill them up, once the stock has cooled, and freeze them. Or you can fill ice cube trays and just pop out the stock in cubes as you need them. I usually just pour hot water over my container for about 5 minutes and plop a big old chicken stock ice berg into whatever I'm cooking. It usually only takes a few minutes for it to thaw.
Stock ready to freeze
But there you go. I just saved you about $17 bucks. Feel free to mail me a check if you don't need it! Gas is freakin' outrageous these days!