Can You Get 5 Meals and Lots of Chicken Stock Out of 2 Chickens? Yes You Can
I have had some friends ask me about how I make my homemade chicken stock, so I thought I would share it with you all today. I will warn you it is a lengthy post!
First, I make chicken stock because we prefer to use organic chicken and chicken stock in our home. Yes, organic chicken is much more expensive but in our house we believe that eating organic is important to our health (we are not overzealous about it, just try to stick with organic as much as possible).
Image: Roast Chicken via Shutterstock
With that said, a whole organic chicken is cheaper than the prepackaged breasts (at Costco). Two whole chickens are around $25 depending on weight. With those two chickens I can get at least five complete dinners as well as oodles of stock.
First, I start by roasting the chicken in a large roaster using whatever veggies I have as the base under the chicken and sprinkling them with salt and pepper (in this picture I had potatoes and sweet potatoes). I also had some apples on the brink of turning, so I stuffed the chicken cavity with those and some dried sage. I do not waste the time tying the legs together or pouring melted butter over the meat, and it has always turned out great.
Then I let it cool enough to handle it. Some of this freshly roasted chicken and vegetables are one meal.
Once the chicken is cooled, I pick the meat from the bones. It is not my most favorite job in the kitchen so I just combine everything into one dish and shred it as I go. It yields a huge bowl of shredded light and dark meat (I keep some in the fridge for dinners that week and freeze most into dinner-size portions perfect for enchiladas, soup, barbecue chicken pizza, etc.).
I then place all bones and skin into my large stockpot and fill it 3/4 with water. I add salt, peppercorns, any fresh or dried herbs I have in the house (parsley and dill usually), and any vegetable discards I have on hand (the outside layers of a few onions, the bottom of a clove of garlic, old carrots, celery tops and bottoms, etc.). The best way I have found to do this is make chicken salad with some of the shredded chicken and then you have all the veggie parts you need and none of it goes to waste.
After I fill the pot it goes on the stove to boil. I boil it until it is reduced by half or more.
After the stock has reduced down I strain it into another large pot.
Then I go through the discards and (because I love them so) get out any goodies I think the pups would like (large carrot pieces, skin, pieces of meat I missed).
They usually end up with a lot of goodness to snack on (I give them a bit each day until it is gone).
Once the stock is cooled I begin to portion it out for freezing. I have used plastic bags in the past but found that when I move them around in the freezer they can easily puncture, making a mess during thawing so now I choose to use plastic containers and, yes, even water bottles (they store perfectly in my freezer door).
I also always freeze some stock in ice cube trays. These are perfect to use when making things like pasta sauce or something that just needs a bit of moisture and extra flavor.
For these ice cube trays, I put a small quart pot of stock back on the stove and reduce it down even further so it is more concentrated. You can see the difference in the picture below. The left is the regular stock and the right is stock reduced further for ice cube trays.
So out of two chickens I can get around five dinners as well as roughly seven containers and three ice cube trays of stock (not to mention the dogs get a few days of tasty treats).
I know it was a long post so if you have any questions or need more details about something–just ask and I will be happy to help! It really does not take that long to do it just requires some patience!
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