Chicken Stock Recipe

My husband and I rarely go food shopping together. 1) I do most of the errands alone on my lunch break s during the week (I work from home as an Editor) and 2) Our son is a minion of the dark lord and is awful in supermarkets. Of course, Saturday was no exception. The weather was crappy and I was too sore (Thank you, power snatches at CrossFit) and Mike was still recovering from surgery so neither of us could chase the kids at an indoor play place. So we ventured out in the rain to the local supermarket figuring we’d get the shopping done together, an errand we used to love to do as a couple. Fast forward thirty minutes and we’re standing in the meat department, our four-year old happily sitting nicely and our two-year old shooting laser beams from his eyes and screaming in what could only be demon Aramaic. “We need chicken breasts. Get those!” I said and pointed to the organic, free range chicken breasts. “What!?!” Mike yells over the baby’s howler monkey antics. “GET! THOSE!” He picks up the package and shows it to me, “These?” “Yes. Those are the only organic ones here.” “But they’re $11.79 for THREE breasts. I can eat three breasts at a sitting!” “Well, the organic chicken is not cheap. But I really don’t want to eat those,” I point to the 7 large antibiotic-filled grain-fed chicken breasts sitting there with a $5.89 price tag. “This is RIDICULOUS. It’s no wonder Americans are sick and fat!” he says. “NO ONE can afford to eat healthy food that isn’t full of crap!” “I know, honey, but now is not the time for a philosophical argument. Sawyer is about to end the world by summoning Hades. We need to go.” “Well, what about this?” and he holds up a 5-lb whole organic chicken. It’s $6.29. “We can get all the meat from this and you can make your stock. We can buy TWO of them for less than the cost of just three tiny breasts.” “Well, if you want to learn how to cut up the chicken, be my guest. We could definitely use the stock.” So that’s what we did. And this is what we ended up with – all organic: Four chicken breasts, four legs, four thighs, four wings and ALL this stock: For UNDER $12. That’s at least THREE meals. For less than the price of the three organic chicken breasts that would have maybe made a lunch for one of us. Also notice those oily globules on the top of the stock? Those are the delicious fats drawn out from the bones and marrow. THAT is what you’re missing in store-bought stuff.
Science validates what our grandmothers knew. .. Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily—not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons–stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.” -From “Broth is Beautiful” by Sally Fallon Morell
So, Mike went online and learned how to properly cut up a whole chicken. It’s really not that hard. Here’s a great how-to video: So, once your chicken is cut up and you’re down to the carcass, now what? Now you make YUMMY STOCK! I use my crockpots for this – they are the standard 4-5 liter size. It works great because you can leave the house and not worry about it. But I suppose you could use a similar sized stockpot or big pot on the stove. Here’s what you need:
  • 1 chicken carcass, preferably roasted
  • 1 large onion
  • Celery (I cut off the tops and bottoms of a whole heart and use those scraps. They’re very flavorful and though we don’t typically eat these parts, every time I cut up crudite I save the leafy tops and hearts in the freezer just for stock!)
  • 2-3 sprigs of thyme
  • few sage leaves if you have them
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
What you do:
  • Put the carcass in the crockpot and fill to about 1 inch from the top with VERY COLD filtered water.
  • Add in the vinegar and let sit for 1-2 hours. (The vinegar helps break down the ligaments and tendons and help break down the bone for all the marrow and nutrients!)
  • Add in all the other ingredients.
  • Set crockpot for anywhere between 12-24 hours (I usually go a full day) and walk away!
  • Let cool so it wont burn you but don’t let it get too cold; otherwise, some of the best stuff with gelatinize and you won’t get it in your stock!
  • Use a strainer and some cheesecloth (I use paper towels and they work just fine) and pour the whole thing through.
  • Toss the carcass and voila! You have stock!
Depending on what I plan to use the stock for, I often change up the flavoring a bit. If I want to use it for light summer recipes, I may throw in an organge and a lemon to give it a light citrus flavor. If I plan to use it for a deep stew, I may add in some GF Beer and rosemary. The possibilities really are endless. Oh and it WILL need to be salted and I recommend you do this VERY slowly and only as you’re using it. See? So when you think you can’t afford to eat organic, maybe you can and you just have to put a little extra work in. But for that little work, you’ll get extra meals AND the healthy benefits of homemade stock.
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13 comments on this post.
  1. Joann:

    I make my own stock as well, but I always have trouble finding containers to store it in, so I googled it and tried the ice cube tray trick. If you freeze the stock in ice cube trays and then, when frozen, empty them into freezer bags, it's a good way to store it. It's also handy to throw a few "cubes" into whatever dish you are cooking.

  2. Jessica:

    I'm totally trying this next week!! I've never deboned my own chicken. And As for storage, as much as I hate plstic Ball makes some great plastic freezer jars with screw top lids. They work great for stock.

  3. KarenAZ:

    I love having stock in the freezer. I keep wobbly carrots, onions, garlic, and celery in a big yogurt container in the freezer to add to the crockpot. I store stock in 1 qt freezer bags, frozen flat for easy stacking.

  4. kakaty:

    Our freezer is always full of chicken carcasses ready for stock and 2 or 4-cup containers of stock. We roast chikens all the time – at least 2-3 times a month – and I save the bones until I have about 4 and make a massive pot of stock. The chicken farmers market stand we frequent sells breasts for $9/lb or a whole chicken for $13 so I learned how to butcher a chicken pretty fast. So a a $6 organic chicken? – score! I would have bought as many as they had!

    Also, even if you aren't roasting the whole chicken, roast the bones before you make stock. It seems like a fussy step but the resulting flavor will knock you socks off!

  5. Non Sequitur Chica:

    My husband makes stock all the time and it's fantastic. We have been using more organic whole birds than buying organic chicken breasts because it is cheaper!

  6. Eric:

    Between making stock and buying large quantities of local beef, I'm gonna need to get a stand-alone freezer. This looks like a great recipe!

  7. Erin:

    We do the roasted chicken thing a lot too so there is always a collection of bones in the freezer. As much as deboning adds a step, the cost factor is so much better to buy the whole chicken.

    At the next function with a roasted turkey, call dibs on the carcass before you go. Seriously, the best stock EVA is one from roasted turkey. Oh my!

  8. Anonymous:

    "Also notice those oily globules on the top of the stock? Those are the delicious nutrients drawn out from the bones and marrow. THAT is what you're missing in store-bought stuff."

    Sorry, but that is just fat….every chicken stock has that. Also the non organic!

    ""This is RIDICULOUS. It's no wonder Americans are sick and fat!" he says. "NO ONE can afford to eat healthy food that isn't full of crap!""

    Sadly that is true! But sounds as if you have your kids already well-conditioned…

  9. Robyn:

    I am recuperating from a nasty virus right now and have this cooking in my crockpot as I write this. I am soooo looking forward to some homemade soup. Thank you!

  10. Spinach Chicken Meatball Soup | Life As A Plate:

    [...] 3-4 quarts of chicken stock [...]

  11. Turkey Meatball Soup | Life As A Plate:

    [...] recipe here from the Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen that explains how to do it well. I also have my how-to on homemade chicken stock  (which you could sub in this [...]

  12. drema:

    (Sorry, I couldn’t figure out how to send an email directly to you from any of the pages I’ve been on so I had to post it on this page – the only page I could find to leave a comment so far)
    When I tried to pull up the recipe for hungarian goulash it just shows a giant picture of the bowl of stew, no recipe. Is there another way to access the recipe?

    Thanks for your recipes – I’m especially looking forward to the wheat free gluten free bread recipe with alternatives for dairy free, too. Looking forward to trying a lot of your recipes. Thanks so much for helping all of us!

  13. AndreAnna:

    It’s here: http://www.lifeasaplate.com/2010/12/27/warm-your-insides-on-a-snow-day-goulash/

    I fixed the broken link, too, thanks!!!

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