I love soup. It’s a fact. Another fact? The base to a great soup is a great stock to get it started. Good stock can be a building block for you in your kitchen. I found it is way easier, more cost-effective and healthy to make your own chicken stock rather than buying it at a box store. When I realized it was so easy, I found myself asking “Why did it take me this long to figure this out?” We live. We learn. Sometimes we learn the hard way, right?
Making your own chicken stock is easy and economical. Photo By Jennifer Rose.
The start to making your own chicken stock is to find yourself a really good (preferably local) whole chicken. It is so important to know where your food comes from, to know that it is properly taken care of before feeding it to your family. Next week I plan to visit a bunch of local farms on a farm tour here in Chattanooga, and I am so excited to meet some of the local farmers and see how they raise and grow the food that we eat! I hope to get some good gardening tips and new ideas that I will, of course, share with you.
OK, OK. Back to the bird. If your bird needs all that yucky stuff pulled out of the inside, this is the time to go ahead and handle that end of things. My mother would call these parts the “innards.” I will admit, that’s not my favorite part of the day. I prefer to cook my chicken “low and slow” all day long in the Crock-Pot. If you would prefer to use a large stock pot and put it on the stove, that is fine too. Either way works. I love my Crock-Pot so I use it regularly for this. I put as many herbs and spices in with the bird as I can. This gives it TONS of flavor. Not only will it yield great chicken—which can be used for some yummy sandwiches (stay tuned for those recipes!)—it will also help to flavor the soups that you make using the stock.
I tend to put 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter in with the bird. I cover it with just enough water so that it is submerged completely. Sometimes I will substitute the water for a beer or white wine of my choice to add a little flavor in. That is totally preference, but it does help to add some flavor.
Getting prepped! Photo By Jennifer Rose.
Then add a healthy dose of salt, pepper, lemon, thyme, onion and garlic. Feel free to add in whatever herbs you might have handy…oregano, basil, etc. All of these herbs are great to use; I just enjoy the mild flavor of thyme for ours.
How to Make Your Own Chicken Stock
• One whole chicken
• 2 to 3 tablespoons butter
• 2 to 3 tablespoons salt
• 2 to 3 tablespoons pepper
• 1 whole lemon, sliced and cut in halves
• One whole yellow onion, peeled and diced
• 4 to 5 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
• A “bunch” of thyme leaves (trimmed from the stem)
Put all of the ingredients with 2 cups of water in the Crock-Pot, then carefully put the chicken into the pot. Add additional water until the chicken is covered. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Flip the bird over once during the process just to make sure that it all cooks evenly. Make sure to check once in a while to make sure the water isn’t getting too low. You want to be sure the bird stays submerged the whole time. Depending on the size of the chicken and the size of the pot, this recipe will yield different amounts of stock. For me, it makes 12 cups!
Make sure to add enough liquid to fully cover the chicken. Photo By Jennifer Rose.
Once the chicken is finished cooking, remove it from the pot and de-bone it. You may have to “fish” some bones out of the crock-pot once you take the chicken out. Let the broth cool to room temp and then put it in containers. You might decide that you want to run the stock through a wire mesh strainer to eliminate all of the thyme leaves, garlic and lemon rind. I skip that step and just freeze it like it is. You can freeze it in ice cube trays as well for recipes that you might only need a few tablespoons for, or as an easy addition to any sauce or gravy. Now, how easy was that? It basically cooked itself. Done deal.
Done! Wait for the chicken stock to cool, strain if you want, then put in containers to store in the fridge or freezer. Photo By Jennifer Rose.
Store-bought organic chicken broth from a local grocery store costs about $4.29 per quart (give or take, based on the brand and store). This recipe yields basically 3 quarts (again, depending on size of pot and bird) for the price of a good chicken and some basic pantry staples. I think that is a great deal!
Next time, I will share an excellent soup recipe that will be a great use of this stock!
Jennifer is a lover of all things yummy! After traveling the states for 5 years, this Mississippi native brought all her Southern roots to plant them in the funky, easy-to-love, Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she resides with her husband, Phil, and two dogs. She is an avid cook, baker, gardener, and creator of all things wonderful. She loves being in the kitchen, gardening, hiking, biking, traveling, yard work, anything DIY, good beer and great food! Except kale. She doesn’t like kale.