The following is a “use watcha got” recipe to use up the carcasses of your cooked chicken (or turkey). This stock is cooked down to be more concentrated, and should result in a rather firm, gel-like consistency when cool.
Decide ahead of time how you will store your stock, and prepare in advance as needed. I used pint sized canning jars and sterilized the canning funnel, jars, lids and rings during the last hour or so of cooking. You could also pour the stock into ice cube trays for freezing, or use freezer bags.
You will also need a colander and bowl large enough to hold your stock, plus a sieve and cheesecloth for straining. Having a giant measuring cup is also very handy to stain into, making it easier to pour the stock into jars.
bones and skin from roasted chickens (or turkey)
onion and/or leeks
vegetables such as carrots, celery (including leaves), celeriac, parsnips
herbs such as rosemary, thyme, savory, sage, bay leaves, ginger, parsley or dill
optional additions: lemon or orange zest, a splash of apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
Seasonings will also depend on how the chickens were seasoned when cooked. When I roasted ours, I first rubbed them with lemon juice and put the lemon pieces, with some bay leaves, into the cavities. I also rubbed lemon salt, paprika, pepper and oil into the skin. Because of this, I was able to be light on the salt and pepper when making the stock. What salt I did use was lemon salt.
- Place your chicken bones and skin into a large stock pot. Scrape pan drippings in (cooled pan drippings may be gelled, which is awesome).
- Add onions, cut into large pieces (skin can be left on, if you wish), or leeks cut into 2 inch or so chunks.
- Crush garlic cloves with the side of a large knife (skins can be left on, but I like to remove them) and add to the pot.
Note: If you don’t have fresh onions or garlic, dried can be used.
- Vegetables do not need to be peeled. Just scrub them, and remove the root ends. Chop them into about 2 inch pieces, then add to the pot.
- Add fresh or dried herbs and other seasonings of your choice.
- Add peppercorns (or ground pepper, if that’s what you have) and salt. If you’re not sure about the salt, leave it for later, after tasting.
- Add enough cold water to cover everything by about 1 or 2 inches.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Do not stir, as that will make your stock cloudy.
- Simmer for about 3-4 hours.
- Place a colander over a large bowl. Carefully pour everything in the stock pot, into the colander. Gently lift out the colander, allowing to drain, and set aside. Colander contents can be discarded.
- Wash the stock pot out and place back on the stove. Pour the stock, through a sieve, back into the stock pot.
- Taste for seasonings. Adjust as desired.
- Bring the stock to a boil. Reduce heat and continue to simmer the stock down until reduced by 1/3rd.
- Line a sieve with several layers of cheesecloth and place over a bowl or large measuring cup.
- Gently ladle the stock into the lined sieve.
- Fill prepared containers with strained stock (in batches, if need be) and seal.
- Refrigerate or freeze, as desired.
Using the carcasses of 3 chickens, I was able to fill 11 pint sized canning jars (all the ones I had available), plus have 3 cups of stock left over.
The second cooking down of the stock concentrates it a bit; if you wanted to, you could continue to cook it down more, for an even more concentrated stock. Keep this in mind when you use it, as you may need to water it down a bit.