While working in the food industry, I was appalled by the amount of food waste that was accepted. Gallons of reasonable if not perfect vegetables, meats, and grains were dumped into the trash daily, and even struggling workers were allowed to take it home to feed their families.
The whole experience changed the way I cooked forever. I began adapting cooking strategies that helped me reduce waste so that I could get as much out of my food as possible. One of those methods was to begin making stocks. Carcasses, onion bits, and any scrap can be boiled down to extract flavors and nutrients for soups, stews, and sauces.
WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
- 2 to 3 ingredients
- Rescues food scraps
- Can be made in bulk and frozen
- Tastes better than store bought
Chicken stock is one of the easiest stocks to make. If you’ve made a chicken roast or any dish that results in scraps and bone leftovers, don’t throw those scraps away. Instead, they can be boiled down with water to make stock.
Stock can contain as few or as many ingredients as you like. This particular recipe is the simple version that uses only three ingredients: chicken scraps, water, and vegetable scraps, but you can get away with just two: chicken scraps and water. The easiest way to cook down these scraps is to use a slow cooker, but you can use a stock pot or a Dutch oven. Just be sure to make the stock on a day when you expect to be home all day so that you can monitor your oven and appliances.
What kind of vegetable scraps can be used?
Almost any vegetable can be added, but I highly recommend scrap onions, garlic, celery, and/or carrots. You can also use corn husks and herbs such as thyme. I typically make my stock with chicken scraps, water, thyme, and garlic.
Cook the stock
The stock takes at least 8 hours to cook. I highly recommend using a slow cooker mainly because it’s safer and designed to be left on for multiple hours. It is not recommended that you leave an oven or stove on for that long. Hamilton Beach is an affordable brand that sells slow cookers.
This recipe makes 64 ounces of stock, but feel free to half or double the recipe according to your needs or the amount of broth that can fit in your pot. Don’t worry if you don’t have exact measurements. This chicken stock recipe is extremely forgiving even if you only have a pound of chicken scraps or a small bunch of thyme.
What to use this stock for
Use this stock to not only get the most out of your meats and vegetables, but to also use it to make and flavor dishes such as soups, stews, sauces, rice, and beans. Be creative with your stock!
MORE RECIPES LIKE THIS
Slow-cooker, stock pot, or Dutch oven
Spatula or spoon
- 8 cups (64oz) water
- 2-3 lbs chicken bones and/or meat scraps
- 1-2 lbs vegetable scraps, i.e. onions, celery, carrots, thyme, etc.
Place all of the ingredients into a 4 quart slow cooker (or whichever size for the amount you are making). If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can use a large stock pot or Dutch oven with a lid and cook your stock or broth over low heat.
Cook the stock on the lowest setting for 8 hours. The liquid should not evaporate much if at all. The longer you allow it to cook, the deeper the flavors.
Allow the stock to cool before straining out the remains with a sieve and storing it into heat resistant containers. Use as desired in soups, stews, and sauces.
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