Chicken/turkey stock

Winter is to me, officially here. I’ve had to start super wrapping my scarf, instead of casually just slinging it around my neck, to go outside in the morning. I also need to bring out my real winter hat. Thankfully my winter coat pockets are fleece lined, so my pansy ass gloves are still fine. But this weekend is boot shopping time. I’ve waited long enough. My pretty Merrell boots just don’t fit any more, and I refuse to put my feet through pain just so that I can avoid spending money I do actually have to buy a product I’ll probably wear every day from now until sometime in February any way. And since we should have our first 4 or so inches of snow this weekend, it’s probably good timing.

I should have posted this ‘recipe’ earlier, for those of you who make turkeys, but oh well.

The way I see it, there are three ways to go about procuring stock to use in recipes. The first is obvious: buy it. But there’s generally so much extra crap is store bought stock that I just can’t stand the stuff. It just doesn’t taste good to me. The second to me is very wasteful: buy all the chicken parts and veggies and chuck them in a pot with water. Something akin to this recipe. Yes, you’ll get decent tasting stock out of it, but it’s really wasteful to me. The third way is what I prefer and is much more frugal. Every time you have chicken or turkey, save the bones. Every time you cut up an onion, carrot, or celery, save the ends. Put this all together in a freezer bag and keep squirreling it away. Then you can make frugal stock.

Frugal Stock
Here’s how I did my last batch, which can serve as a good general recipe for how to make stock. I’ve found it to be very forgiving and easily adaptable to what I have on hand. I find with using bones from cooked chicken/turkey that the stock just tastes better too. Perhaps part of that is from the flavors used to cook the chicken to begin with.

I had a gallon freezer bag full of onion ends and peels, carrot ends, and chicken bones.
I de-meated the turkey carcass to the best of my ability and put the meat aside.
Put all this together in a large stock pot and top with cold water.
You can add other things too; I put in a few extra sprigs of thyme and sage because I had some. In the past parsnip pieces have gone in too.
Bring the pot to a boil, cover loosely and lower the temperature.
Simmer for a few hours. I’ve done as short as an hour, as long as three. You can top off evaporated water as you see fit, I’ve done it both ways and it for me hasn’t made a big difference.
When you’ve had enough, turn the burner off and let the pot cool for a bit.
Using a slotted spoon, fish out any bones/chunks. I suggest having a bag next to the pot so that you aren’t dripping stock all over your kitchen. At this point, hopefully the pot is reasonably not hot. Set up a large bowl and put a fine mesh sieve over it. Filter the stock through the sieve to finish getting out smaller particulate matter. Some people like to filter through cheese cloth to make nice clear stock. I’ve never cared that much, so I never have.

At that point, I usually put it in the fridge to cool completely overnight. You can then skim off the fat. I never do, because my stock generally doesn’t seem to have a ton of fat, and I don’t find fat scary. In fact, it’s rather tasty. In the past, I measure out the stock in known quantities and freeze it that way (1 cup, 2 cups, 14 oz, etc). This time, I didn’t. I’ve finally accepted that no matter what volume I freeze it in, it’s never the volume I need for a recipe. So this time I just ladled the stock into quart freezer bags until they were about 3/4 full and froze it that way.

If you’ve done everything right, your stock should be fairly tasty on it’s own. Also, when you pull it out of the fridge the second day, it should be somewhat gelatinous. Kind of like thin jello. When I feel myself getting sick, I often thaw out a bag, microwave the stock, and just drink it straight. We us it as is in any recipe that calls for stock or broth and it’s always worked well.

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