Aside from it being good, frugal fun, I am deathly allergic to both celery and parsley, and trying to find a commercially made stock or even powdered bullion without either ingredient is, well... let's say it's a challenge. So basically if I want chicken stock, I've got to make it myself.
BTW - I've looked up the difference between stock & broth, and found a remarkable variance in the answer. Some folks say that stock is made with bones, while broth is made with meat. Others say that stock is "unflavored" while broth includes seasonings. I suppose if you're some sort of a gourmet cook the distinction might be a meaningful one, but since my main purpose here is to make soup that isn't gonna send me to the emergency room, I pretty much use the terms interchangeably.
Some folks make stock using pieces of chicken and cut up vegetables, but I sorta see this as a waste of food that could be eaten "as is," and I tend to see making stock as a way to use up chicken bones & scraps as well as veggie pieces that might otherwise go to waste.
I'd be hard pressed to say that I have a recipe for this stuff, since what goes into the pot varies tremendously with what I happen to have available, but here's the general idea.
First of all, I seldom have enough scraps on hand to make stock "from scratch" so I save them up in the freezer. I used to keep a "stock bag" - one of those gallon sized ziplock bags, but it was a real pain to wash, and I felt guilty tossing them, so now I use re-purposed gallon sized yogurt tubs.
So the stock bucket lives in the freezer and as I'm cooking things I save the ends & tougher outside skins of onions, bits of peppers & tomatoes, stems from asparagus and other veggie scraps. Most any scraps will do, though you generally want to steer clear of cruciferous stuff like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale and the like since it tends to get a bit bitter when you include it.
I also save chicken bones, necks, the wing tips, gizzards, and even hunks of skin & fat. Sometimes when I cook a whole chicken I cut out the backbone and surrounding meat before roasting it, and this makes a great addition to the stock. The only part of the bird I wouldn't include would be the liver since it tends to disintegrate and turn your stock all "livery."
In addition to all of this, I also save liquids to add to the mix. Things that work well are the juice from canned olives & mushrooms, liquid from rinsing out spaghetti sauce jars, (thanks to Lili at Creative Savv for those ideas) liquid that vegetables or potatoes were steamed in, (thanks to Cathy at Playing Hooky for that one) and, of course, the drippings from deglazing the pan after roasting any sort of meat or vegetable.
I save this stuff in mason jars in the freezer until I'm ready to make stock. I suppose some folks would say that you shouldn't add the salty stuff like olive juice to the stock, and instead add it to the soup itself, but it seems a bit academic to me, so I just add it when I make the stock.
Soooo... when I'm ready to make stock, I start by defrosting and browning any raw chicken bits in the bottom of my stock pot. If I've got some hunks of chicken fat I'll brown those first to liquefy the fat and help the other stuff not to stick, if not, I'll use a bit of olive oil. I find that browning the onion bits also adds a bit more flavor.
|Browning the neck and gizzards|
Then you simply simmer it for a few hours. The longer you simmer, the more flavors you'll extract from everything, so I try to choose a nice chilly day to do this when it's nice to have something warm on the stove for 4-6 hours. I have honestly never made stock in the heat of the summer... I tend to just save things up until fall and make it then, but someone suggested to me (one of you, I'm sure) that I could make it in a crock pot in the garage during the summer. I may have to try that.
Anyhow, here's how it looks after it's simmered for about 4 hours.
When it's done you strain out all of the scraps and you're left with a flavorful liquid that makes a great soup base, or can be used in place of water in just about any savory recipe. Now, depending on how compulsive I'm feeling, I sometimes pick through all of the scraps and get every last piece of meat off of the bone to toss into my soup, and quite often I just proceed to the soup making right from there. Otherwise, I store it in mason jars in the freezer.
I did actually pull about a cup's worth of meat off of those bones, and I went ahead and used this batch to make some potato kale soup - I basically sauteed an onion, tossed it in the stock along with the chicken I pulled off of the bones, 3-4 cubed potatoes and one cubed sweet potato. I seasoned it with black pepper, cracked red pepper and oregano. Once the potatoes were cooked through, I added half a pound of chopped kale & about a half cup of sour cream. It turned out really yummy!
So that's how I make stock. Tell me... do you make stock from scratch? Do you think there's a meaningful distinction between stock & broth? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic!