Somewhat Weekly Recipe: Homemade Chicken Stock

Okay, my input here is not much of a recipe, but I was inspired to share it by something I read on one of my favorite blogs this morning. This time of year, it seems we go through bone stock as fast as I can make it. I use bones leftover from roast chicken dinners and grilled hot wings to make our stock, but Nicole at Cauldrons and Cupcakes has streamlined the process of turning chicken into chicken vegetable soup. What a great smell to come home to! Stock or soup simmering away is one of my favorite memories of walking into my grandparents’ kitchen. They always had something in progress on the stove.

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Bone stock in progress. Mostly chicken bones, with a few turkey bones in the center. I tossed in some bay leaves, first time ever, because I had just a handful that wouldn’t fit in the storage jar. The smell is home-sweet-home.

I use a slow cooker here, and add a few tablespoons of vinegar to filtered water and the contents of the ‘bone bag’ from the freezer. I set the cooker to ‘low’, and let it go for a day, or until the bones are soft enough to crumble when pinched. I add water if the level gets low, or if we start scooping out broth before the bones have given their all. When all the minerals have been extracted from the bones, I strain the stock into freezer jars, and dump the bones into the compost. Sometimes I add them to the pets’ food for a treat.

You’ll notice that I don’t add any seasoning when making my bone stock (the picture from today’s batch is a once-in-a-lifetime occurance, based on a storage crisis) That’s because unseasoned stock can be used in a wide variety of ways, and each application will have its own seasoning needs.

Good food requires good ingredients.  Pastured chicken makes the best soup! (photo courtesy of Mother Earth News)

Good food requires good ingredients. Pastured chicken makes the best soup! (photo courtesy of Mother Earth News)

The basic bone stock can be used as the base for a great chicken soup, just like Nicole’s recipe.We also use the stock instead of water when we make rice, for extra richness and minerals. We mix it in the pets’ meals to boost the nutrition for our picky eaters. And if we feel like we’re ‘coming down with something’, I stir in hot pepper, ground ginger, garlic, apple cider vinegar and a whipped egg to make a germ-defying hot and sour soup. The stock stores wonderfully in the freezer in the wide mouth jars with the plastic lids…just thaw gently before you need to use it.

Although the recipe takes a long time, it is not very labor-intensive. Most of the time is spent waiting for the stove or slow-cooker to slowly extract the important nutrients and minerals from the bones. It’s a great project to start one day with plans to enjoy the results on the next several days. Coming home after a long and cold day and knowing that there is a hot meal waiting for you is incredibly satisfying!

Chicken soup is almost magical in its health-giving properties, so indulge yourself, and enjoy the flavor of home.

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Gorgeous goodness in a bowl of homemade chicken vegetable soup. (photo courtesy of Cauldrons and Cupcakes)

Update: part of the inspiration for this post also came from a WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, wherein we were instructed to use a photograph to illustrate the word “Home”.  For me, of course, Home is tied to Food.  For other unique interpretations, take a look at some of the other entries, below.  (Most people have far superior photography skills than me, so the pictures are actually nice to look at)

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14 Comments

Filed under Eating in Season, General

14 Responses to Somewhat Weekly Recipe: Homemade Chicken Stock

  1. topical – I am just about to put my stock on.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: Home (Open Shutters) « What's (in) the picture?

  3. I just made this soup today. Well I started it in my crock pot last evening!

  4. My husband just cooked a turkey during the blizzard and had turkey soup the next day. Gotta make the soup with the bones to feel like you are getting the most out of your food.

  5. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: HOME « The Adventures of Iñigo Boy

  6. great post…now do you have a good vegetable stock for a vegetarian ???

    • Thanks Jo. Actually, for all-veggie stock, I use mostly carrots, onions, celery, and garlic, and cook that down in the crock pot til they’re pretty mushy. The seasoning is bay leaves, salt and pepper, and summer savory if I have it. Thyme and Marjoram are good too. Once it’s all cooked down, just strain it into the freezer jars.
      The spent vegetables can go straight into the compost. Since you don’t have to wait to extract the minerals from any bones, this goes a lot faster than making bone stock.
      The trouble around here is we rarely have enough veggies left over to make into stock!

  7. Pingback: Photo Project: 52 Bolivian Sundays [week 6, 'Home']. « 3rdculturechildren

  8. Tasty, and a great take on the theme if you ask me :)