Taking Stock

I admit it. I have a little of my Scotch-Welch great grandmother in me when it comes to saving chicken and turkey bones for stock.  I just can’t bear to throw the bones away!  So, I make stock. 

Whenever I have some free time, I take out some chicken bones out of the freezer and make homemade stock. 

There is something deeply satisfying about making something from basically nothing. 

I am always reminded of the children’s story of Stone Soup when I make stock.  If I don’t have any bones in the freezer, I buy a whole cut-up chicken, roast it, freeze the meat for a casserole or chicken enchiladas, then use the roasted bones for stock.  I find that roasted bones have more flavor than raw ones.  

I don’t add a lot to the stock.  Since it’s used in so many different recipes – I don’t want its flavor to be too strong.  Just salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, a carrot and a stalk or two of celery.  The key is to cook it low and slow to boil out as much flavor from the bones and skin as possible.  Keep skimming off the fat and icky stuff as you go.

When the stock is done store it in small one- and two-cup jars for use in sauces and skillet-cooked pork, beef or boneless chicken dishes.  Store the rest in larger plastic containers for soup stock.

When I’m strapped for a side dish, I grab a box of rice pilaf or quick-cooking couscous.  Replacing the water with homemade chicken stock makes a huge difference!  I always add a cup full of stock when making stir-frys, too.

I often make another flavorful and versatile stock with ham hocks.  Just add some peppercorns and a quartered onion.   The ham stock is great as a base for beans and bean soups.

Do you ever make homemade soup stock? Would love to know!

Here's to your JOY,
Julia