Being sick is legitimately the worst.
I may have mentioned this before, but growing up, one of the most-repeated warnings in my household was, and I quote: “A bored Tess is never a good thing.”
Being sick is SO boring. I always have all of these ideas of cool things to do, and none of them are possible because I’m sick. Or I actually try to do all of them and just prevent myself from getting better any faster. So basically I hate it I hate it I hate it.
Anyway, in the spirit of going along with being sick (I repeat: ugh), I decided to learn how to make homemade chicken stock. Mostly because it feels like doing something when I’m not really supposed to be doing anything at all.
But Tess: why, you ask?
Well, here’s the situation: it is REALLY easy. You can make this as tough or as easy as you want. There are a bunch of steps that are totally optional and only for extra credit – making your whole house smell like the epitome of cozy is only a few vegetables (and a chicken carcass) away.
If you are like me, you can use a rotisserie chicken to make stock. This is not a drill: you do not have to roast the chicken yourself. There. Doesn’t this seem easier already?
One note before we start: I am sorry to be saying carcass so many times. Genuinely, truly sorry.
Homemade Chicken Stock: For extra credit in LIFE.
- One chicken carcass, with a bit of the meat left on and any excess fat trimmed away (rotisserie chickens are A-OK!)
- 1 yellow onion, halved, skin on
- 2 carrots, unpeeled, ends trimmed
- 2 ribs celery, cut into 2-3 pieces (include any leaves that came with the celery for even more exciting flavor)
- 20 sprigs parsley
- 3-4 sprigs thyme
- a few sprigs each of rosemary and sage, if you’re into that kind of thing
- any other scraps of veggies in your fridge are fair game!
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
1. Throw chicken carcass on a foil-lined cookie sheet and roast the bones at 400 degrees for 20 or so minutes, until they start to sizzle. Add the onion, carrots and celery, and drizzle a bit of olive oil on top. Allow all of these things to roast for another 10-15 minutes. (Alternative: skip this step entirely. Seriously. If you’re feeling lazy, this isn’t a must-do – it will just increase the complexity of the flavor of your broth.)
2. Put all ingredients in a large stock pot. Add very cold water until it covers all items, and fill the pot as close to the top as you’re comfortable with. Bring to a boll (boil) and simmer on medium for two hours.
3. Once the stock is done (feel free to try it, but it will be HOT, oh god, so hot that it BURNS), pour all contents of the stock pot through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. At this point, you can siphon the stock off into tupperware or ziploc bags for storage, or you can begin using it right away if your intention was to cook with it immediately. Storing it in ziploc bags in the freezer is SO convenient because it lies flat. And I think that we can all agree that our freezers do NOT require any more large, bulky items. No thank you, no sirree.
Notes: Combining celery, onion and carrots like we do in this recipe is called “mirepoix” (meer-a-pwah) – if you would like to sound snooty and french, make sure to mention that to folks when you brag about having made your own stock. (Here is a good time to do this: If you hear someone say, “Oh, I need to pick up some chicken stock,” you can pause just long enough for them to picture you wrinkling your nose, and then you say, “Oh…you buy your stock? How positively novel.” They will love it. Don’t worry.
Why vinegar? Sorry for a potential overshare, but vinegar helps to leech minerals from the bones of the chicken. That’s why we roast them, too – tryin’ to get all the good stuff out!
Where’s the salt? Good question! Many store-bought broths you see will actually have salt or MSG listed as the very first ingredient. Since this can be used for cooking, it’s nice to start off with a neutral base so that you can add as you go. However, if you’re sipping this “bone broth”-style (see below), you definitely may want to add some salt. Start gradually, and see what tastes right for you.
P.P.P.S.: This is totally just a base. While you can definitely use this for cooking, if you’re planning on sipping it (the kids, they’re calling it “bone broth” these days, have ya heard?), you might want to add these things in small increments (play with the taste until you’re happy!): garlic powder, turmeric, and sugar.