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Homemade Chicken Stock

After a good feast of Sunday roast chicken, have you ever wondered what to do with the bones? Don't just toss them out...make homemade chicken stock in a snap that you can add to soups, stews, gravies or anything else that requires a flavour boost...I realize that discussing the culinary uses for the carcass of some unlucky chicken doesn't sound very appetizing but the result is delicious!

To make this flavourful broth, you will need water, carrots, celery, garlic cloves, onions, fresh herbs (or dried), salt, peppercorns (or ground pepper) and of course, the carcass of a roasted chicken...(I just bought a pre roasted bird that I picked the meat off of).

First, wash 2 large carrots, 2-3 stalks of celery, 2 large onions and 4 cloves of garlic...leave the peels and skins on them. Roughly chop the carrots, cut the onions and celery in half (leaving the leaves on the celery)...leave the garlic cloves whole.

In a large stock pot, add 12 cups of cold water...

...and toss in the vegetables.

Next, add in 1 tsp.of salt...

...1 tsp. of whole peppercorns...

...2 sprigs of rosemary (needles removed from stems)

...and 2 sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves removed from stems).

Cut all of the meat off of the chicken carcass, leaving the bones, skin, fat and cartilage (save the meat for another use...sandwiches, soup, stew...)

...and add it to the stock pot.

Bring the mixture to a boil (covered) over high heat...once a full rolling boil has been reached, reduce heat to medium/low, remove lid and let simmer for about 2-3 hours.

Once the liquid has been reduced to about half, remove from the heat...

...and strain through a colander (that has been lined with several layers of cheesecloth), into a large bowl.

Discard contents of cheesecloth...(I squeeze the juice from the cheesecloth bag to get every last drop of goodness).

Cover the top of bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for several hours or overnight...this will allow the fat a chance to solidify on top of the broth.

This kind of looks gross, but this is the fat that has risen to the top.

Skim the fat from the top of broth...

...and you are left with rich, flavourful chicken not be alarmed that your stock will emerge from the fridge and look like chicken jello...this is what you means that you have successfully extracted all of the goodness and flavour from the chicken carcass (the source of the gelatin comes from the collagen in the bones).

I like to heat the gelatinous broth up, to bring it back to a liquid state...this makes it easier to pour into storage containers, jars or even ice cube trays.

You may use the stock right away in a homemade chicken soup or stew or store leftover broth in the fridge for approximately 4 days or the freezer for about 6 months. Pour broth into a plastic container or glass jars (if using glass jars, leave about 2 inches of headspace to allow for expansion when broth is frozen...otherwise your jars will break). Alternatively, you can pour stock into ice cube trays and place frozen cubes in ziploc bags...these are really convenient when you need a quick flavour boost for weeknight casseroles!

Homemade Chicken Stock

12 cups of cold water

1 roasted chicken carcass (meat removed and saved for another use)

2 large onions (skins on), cut in half

2 large carrots (unpeeled), coarsely chopped

2-3 large celery stalks (leaves and tops left on), cut in half

4 garlic cloves (skins on), left whole

1 tsp. of whole black peppercorns (or 1 tsp. ground pepper)

1 tsp. of salt

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, needles removed from stems (or 2 tsps. of dried rosemary)

2 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems (or 2 tsps. of dried thyme)

1. Place everything into a large stock pot and place over high heat (covered) until mixture comes to a full rolling boil.

2. Reduce heat to medium/low, remove cover and let simmer for about 2-3 hours or until liquid has reduced by about half.

3. Remove from heat and strain through a cheesecloth lined colander into a large bowl.

4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for several hours or overnight until the fat rises and solidifies on the surface...skim fat from the top.

5. Use your broth right away or place it into storage containers for the fridge or freezer...Enjoy!

* makes about 4-5 cups

* may be stored in the fridge for approximately 4 days or in the freezer for about 6 months.

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