Free Chicken Stock

Reader Contribution by Dede Ryan
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Most of us at MOTHER EARTH NEWS are steeped in a passion to waste nothing. When it comes to chicken, I use everything but the cluck.

This tasty chicken stock is easy, delicious and has the added benefit of filling your house with a delightful aroma that will make your kids and dogs go a little cra-cra. If that isn’t enough, chicken stock is free. Just round up that carrot that may be too limp for salad, that half of onion you want to use up, and whatever herbs and spices you have on hand.

Once you have made your stock, you can use it right away for soup by adding noodles or rice and some chopped vegetables. Or freeze it to use later.

Making chicken stock:

1. The first step is to scrub your hands and work surfaces with hot soapy water. Break the chicken carcass apart and put the pieces in a pan with enough water to just cover the bones. Bring the water to a boil.

2. While you wait for the water to boil, chop up a carrot, stalk of celery, onion and whatever other vegetables you have on hand. If you like garlic, add that too, along with a grind of salt and pepper.

3. This is yet another time that growing herbs on a sunny windowsill pays off. To make my stock, I clip a few sprigs of fresh parsley and rosemary. The fragrance just from snipping them off the plant brings back memories of last summer … and helps me cope with the cold weeks before I start seeds for spring planting.

Add all your vegetables and herbs to the pot and bring the temperature down to a friendly simmer. Depending on the size of the bird, it takes about 90 minutes to extract all the goodness from the bones and vegetables.

Strain the stock through a fairly fine sieve into a shallow container that will allow the stock to cool quickly. If it’s chilly outside, I put it on my potting table to cool (out of reach of my dogs). Skim any fat off that rises to the top. At this point, either pour into a freezer container and label, or put the stock back on the stove to make a soup that will put summer in your family’s hearts.

You can read more about Dede Ryan’s other writing at Dede Ryan’s blog.

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