In my book, little beats a good roast chicken dinner. It’s the meal the keeps on giving—after dinner, leftovers star in tacos, fill sandwiches, and dress up salads. And it’s a sad moment when the meat is gone, and all that remains is a humble carcass. When that moment comes, resist the urge throw the remains in the garbage. Instead, break out the stockpot! It’s time to turn those bones into a strong foundation for countless recipes using some good ole nose-to-tail (beak-to-feathers?) resourcefulness!
Let’s back up for a second. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve ignored “homemade chicken stock” on an ingredient list, well then I’d have more than a few dollars to contribute to my social budget. Sure, I subscribe to the gospel of both the Barefoot Contessa and the Minimalist who repeatedly preach the flavorful benefits of good quality homemade stock. But I had a vision of making stock from scratch that was laborsome, not to mention expensive. The truth is that while it does take a bit of time (remember, the word procrastination caught your eye…), the results are much more cost efficient than the sodium-packed cans from the store. Plus, there is something so satisfying about having every single ingredient for a recipe, right down to the preferable homemade chicken stock.
Juliana Barton is recent graduate of the University of Virginia, where she avoided the dining hall by playing lunch lady in her own kitchen complete with Ina-style Friday night roast chicken dinners. Read more…
Homemade Chicken Stock
Makes about 2 quarts
The main procrastination in this recipe comes from roasting the chicken in the first place. If you don’t have time to make the stock immediately after, don’t sweat it. Throw the bones, and any veggie trimmings from the meal, in the fridge or freezer until you have time. Once in the pot, the stock does its thing pretty much unattended. In the meantime, make yourself useful with…I don’t know…work?
Carcass, bones, from one 3-4 pound chicken
1 large onion, quartered (no need to peel)
2 large carrot, roughly chopped
2 large celery stalks, roughly chopped (including leaves)
5-6 garlic cloves (no need to peel)
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 4-inch piece of ginger, cut into chunks
1 fennel bulb, quartered
Several rosemary springs
Handful dried mushrooms
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Place chicken bones, onion, carrots, celery and garlic (and any other vegetables using) in a large ovenproof pot and roast for 30 minutes.
Add peppercorns and herbs to the pot and add enough water to cover all ingredients.
Bring to a boil, then immediately turn heat down to medium-low. Let the pot simmer with the lid slightly ajar for at least 3 hours. Resist the urge to stir. You will be rewarded with a clear broth.
Cool slightly, then strain using sieve or cheesecloth. Be sure to press on the meat solids and vegetables to extract more juice. Discard remains and vegetables.
Use stock immediately, or transfer to airtight containers and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freezer for up to 3 months.