Homemade Chicken Stock
One of the things that always held me back from making homemade stock was the perceived waste of food. Sure, the chicken and bones could already be considered trash, but to add perfectly good carrots, celery, garlic, onions and tomato into a pot of boiling water, just to throw them away afterward, was off-putting. After a few runs with homemade stock, however, it was clear by the sad, wilty state of the veggies that they most certainly did have their place, and were well-used in the creation of the stock.
What's the difference between stock and broth? Broth is made with just meat, whereas stock incorporates bones as well. In my opinion, stock is always richer. Whenever I roast a chicken or cook chicken on the bone, I freeze the bones in a Ziplock for a pot of stock down the road. Along with meat, the more bones you have, the richer your stock will be.
You will need:
Various leftover chicken pieces, such as whole carcasses, necks or giblets. Freeze these as you go along until you have enough for stock - a good rule of thumb when collecting various parts is to essentially collect a bird's worth (two wings, two legs, two breasts, etc). You can also start with fresh chicken meat - for example, you can use breasts and when the stock has finished cooking, shred them for chicken salad or pulled barbecue chicken.
1 whole onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, whole
5-6 whole carrots, cleaned but not peeled, cut into chunks
Leaves and top part of stalks from one whole celery bulb (use the natural indent as your guide as far as where to cut)
Stems from one bunch parsley, tied with kitchen string if you wish
One tomato, quartered
Water, enough to cover
3 tablespoons salt
Palmful whole peppercorns
1/4 tsp turmeric (mostly for color - a little goes a very long way)
The directions couldn't be easier: add your chicken pieces, vegetables, herbs and seasonings to a large pot and fill with water. Heat over medium to medium-high heat for an hour to an hour and a half (do not boil). Taste and adjust seasonings (usually only salt) if necessary. Strain out solids by pouring the stock over a colander fitted over a second large pot. Discard solids and allow stock to cool completely to room temperature before storing. Tip: placing the room-temperature pot of stock in your fridge overnight will cause all the fat to rise to the top, making it very easy to skim off.
To store: chicken broth will last indefinitely if properly stored in the freezer, or up to three days in the refrigerator. To store for a prolonged period of time, a pressure canner is essential (water bath canning will not suffice to kill any bacteria for the storage of meat or meat-based broths). The best reference and tutorial for pressure canning can be found at the Ball website. The idea of pressure canning scared me to death for the longest time, and the first time I tried it I stayed far away from the kitchen lest the device explode as I feared. Of course it never did - modern canners have an extremely low chance of exploding due to their safety features.
Reheat broth before canning in hot Mason jars, then process according to the low acid directions - 20 minutes for pints of broth and 25 minutes for quarts.