Since this blog is now all Fall, all the time, I wanted to share one of my favorite fall comforts. In the Chaos household fall and winter bring casseroles, soups, and stews-a surprising number of which contain chicken. To be prepared for these comforts, I often buy whole chickens at the grocery store for making stock and procuring meat for casseroles, pot pies, etc… A great side effect of poaching chicken meat is delicious homemade stock ready to be turned into soup or frozen and used later. I know making your own chicken stock sounds a little time intensive but really it’s not. I simply put some vegetables and a chicken in a stock pot and cover with water, then simmer for several hours or until the chicken is fully cooked and falling apart. Remove the meat and refrigerate and continue simmering the chicken parts for several more hours. Then strain and refrigerate it overnight. In the morning the fat will just lift off the top and you have a great low sodium, low fat chicken stock.
Chicken Stockmakes approx 8 cups, prep 10 min, cook time 6-8 hours
- 1 whole chicken, plus any chicken parts you have: extra meat, bones, giblets, etc…
- parsley, other herbs
- water to cover
- Rinse your chicken and place it in the pot. Or if you are like me forget to thaw it and put the frozen chicken in the pot.
- Thoroughly wash all your vegetables and greens (carrot tops, celery leaves, etc). Roughly chop, break, or quarter the vegetables and throw them in the pot. Add spices and herbs.
- Cover with water. Turn heat to medium and allow to come to a light simmer.
- Try not to get a rolling boil going on or your broth with develop a gross white foam, but since this will inevitably happen just skim the foam off every 30 min or hour until it goes away.
- After several hours your chicken will be fully cooked and a lot of the fat will be rendered, making it easy to separate the meat from the refuse.
- Remove your chicken and allow to cool enough to handle.
- Remove the meat and refrigerate for another use. Add all of the chicken refuse-giblets, skin and bones-back to the pot.
- Continue simmering for several more hours until slightly reduced. Strain broth into a bowl and discard the solids.
- Separate your broth into several covered containers so it will chill faster and refrigerate.
- The next day your broth will have a fat layer at the top that you can peel off before using.
This seems like a lot of steps, but really the chicken stock makes itself. I usually just throw everything in the pot and ignore it while wandering around the house doing various chores. You can also put it all in a large crock pot and it will simmer while you are at work. I suck at roasting a chicken so I prefer this method for making cooked chicken for pot pies and casseroles. The meat is easy to identify and separates easily for chopping or shredding later. Plus there is nothing more soothing to a stuffy head or sore throat than a steaming pot of chicken on the stove top.