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Who uses homemade chicken stock in recipes?

When a recipe calls for chicken stock, do you use actual home made stock? Does anyone make stock and have stock on hand? Or do you buy it? I'm curious to see what everyone does, homemade stock, purchased stock, canned broth? Just wondering

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  1. Every once in a while, I'll make a big pot of chicken broth, using backs, bones, etc. that I've been saving in the freezer. I freeze it and use either in a soup or to make something where the flavour of the broth is important - like risotto. To make a braised dish, for example, the delicacy of a home made broth gets lost. In that case I'll use the tetra-pack low sodium Campbell's.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Nyleve

      I do exactly the same thing, make my own stock but save it for when it will really shine. And I practically never buy chicken parts. That way I can ensure a supply of backs, wings, and bones in the freezer when I'm ready to make the next batch of stock.

      1. re: Nyleve

        Yup! I do the same. I find that putting it all in slow cooker works great because it won't boil the stock and can safely go all night long. If the flavor isn't want I want, I boil the stock down after I've strained and de-fatted it.

        Then I vacuum seal it in 8, 16 & 32 oz. packets. If find if I freeze the stock I can easily vacuum seal it. Then if I let them thaw and lay them out flat, I can refreeze highly stackable and storable portions until I need them.

        Between accumulations/stockifications, I use the TJs quarts of broth in boxes. They're very nice too.

        1. re: Nyleve

          same here. I use tetra pacific foods brand low sodium stock when in need.

        2. Boxes of low sodium chicken broth or those concentrated cubes just in case I run out.

          My god, make my own chicken broth? Maybe when I retire 50 yrs from now.

          1. It depends. For delicate soups I make my own stocks and try to cook big enough batch to freeze some portions for later use. For very pungent, hearty ones I use Swanson's chicken broth (never beef broth).

            3 Replies
            1. re: Bigos

              Just curious - why never beef broth? You wouldn't use a beef broth to braise, for instance, a beef/veal cut?

              1. re: lynnlato

                I think that in this case it's that Swanson's beef broth is pretty awful. I like and use Swanson's "Natural Goodness" chicken broth (and especially like their new organic version of it) but the beef broth has always been particularly bad. They do have a new lower sodium organic beef broth that I've been thinking about trying to see if they've improved it. I don't think Bigos is declaring he/she'd never use beef broth or stock generally.

              2. re: Bigos

                I also use Swanson all natural low sodium chicken broth. I use college inn beef broth which has a really deep beef flavor.

              3. I save chicken bones in the freezer until I have enough for a batch of stock. Then I keep the homemade stock in the freezer, too. However, since I don't eat bone-in chicken very often, I also buy Pacific natural foods organic chicken broth (in a box). I know some people buy chickens specifically for stock, but I never have.

                8 Replies
                1. re: Glencora

                  Glencora, I do the same as you. Yes, the Pacific brand is by far the top of line of store bought chicken broth. The other day I found it packaged in 1 cup containers (4 per little container) - nice to have that.

                  1. re: Shunick

                    I buy Pacific brand at Costco now. Great price; much, much cheaper than it was at Trader Joe's.

                    1. re: maestra

                      I generally have my own in the freezer, but when I run out (and we use a lot of stock in the fall / winter) I also use the Pacific. It's great.

                      1. re: tzurriz

                        Completely agree. I do the same thing. I never use Swanson's...Pacific is 100 times better.

                  2. re: Glencora

                    Are the bones still ok to save and use later after cooking, or do you just save one's that are removed before cooking?

                    1. re: ewallace001

                      You can use bones that have been cooked. I usually cut up the carcass of a roast chicken into pieces, then freeze in a ziplock bag.

                      1. re: ewallace001

                        They're definitely good to use after cooking. As MMRuth said, I too save them in a bag in the freezer until I have enough to make enough stock to make it worth my time and effort. I normally go for about 10 quarts at a time (because my stock pot holds 12 quarts).

                        The Ziploc twist top containers seal shut and the smaller ones hold 2 cups which I find to be just right for most of my purposes. I keep the stock in the freezer in those.

                        1. re: ewallace001

                          ok, a bit of clarification. Cooked bones are "usually used to make a brown stock, with pan drippings and a browned mirepoix

                          White stocks use uncooked, unbrowned bones and mirepoix that is not browned.

                          If you are going to use the carcass from a chicken, or turkey that has been cooked, save the skin, and any pan drippings as well. In fact. if you have not deglazed the roasting pan to make gravy, I would plan on tossing my aromatics or mirepoix into the pan and roast them until they start to brown on the edges, deglaze the pan with water, and add your bones.

                          You will end up with a richer stock, with a brown color.

                          I save all the giblets, necks, backs, and trimmings from every chicken and turkey we eat in the freezer and every few months make up a "poultry stock"

                          As half my bones are uncooked and the other half are cooked, I guess I have a "tan" stock, neither a true brown, nor a true white stock.

                          I never have enough homemade stock to use in every recipe, so I use college inn, Pacific, or some commercial chicken base, depending on the recipe. I try to at least simmer some aromatics in the canned stock to freshen up the flavor a bit.

                      2. Stocks pretty easy to make in large patches, so I do so about once a month and break it down into smaller patches for various recipes. Altho there are a few premade stocks out there I've tried, they don't taste authentic to me and I find myself reseasoning or adding chicken to doctor-up the taste.

                        1. Both depending on recipe and circumstances. When I use something prepared it is Kitchen Basics which is lower in soduim than many prepared stocks or broths and contains no additives, chemical or otherwise. It is pretty close to what I make myself.

                          3 Replies
                            1. re: anni

                              I do both homemade and store-bought. For what it's worth, Kitchen Basics was in the "Not reccomended" section of Cook's Illustrated's test of store-bought chicken broth. They claimed the panel found it bad-tasting and pools of fat appeared on the surface.

                              Number 1 was Organic Swansons (in the box) and number 2 was "Better than Bouillon" and 3 was another Swanson's broth (can't remember the name but it's on the net).

                              1. re: oakjoan

                                I also make my own stock from bones I freeze after devouring chicken, turkey, pork. Used to make it on the stove, but now that I have a crock pot, I find it's a snap to throw everything in it and let 'er rip. I happened to watch the CI store bought broth testing and changed from the TJ's to the organic Swanson's and never looked back. It's great when you run out of the homemade stock.

                            1. I buy whole chickens and cut them up myself.With the parts I don't like necks,back,legs,etc I make broth and freeze it until I need it.It's simple to make broth and you know what's in it.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: WINDELLA

                                Ha! I do the same thing with any animal that is on its way to my table. My freezer looks like a killing field. But you can't beat home made stock.

                              2. Homemade chicken stock- all of the time! When I make a batch, I freeze in 1 to 4 cup containers. When I haven't had time to make a new batch, if I see a recipe that uses chicken stock, I will wait until I make more chicken stock. Too many chemicals, salt, etc in the canned stuff as far as I'm concerned and the taste is never as good. It's easy to make the stock too.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: morebubbles

                                  I agree...I don't have any recipes that I would use the boxed/canned stuff in...Homemade has so much more body/texture from the gelatin in the meat bones...Plus, homemade stock is too easy- there is hardly any active time to the prep. I do save a lot of trimming(vegs, mush, etc) in the freezer and usu by a roaster(or whatever is on sale) and just make a big ol' batch...

                                2. I haven't used store bought stock in years. A couple of times a year, I make batches of chicken, beef and veggie stocks. I freeze it and always have some handy. I also freeze some of each in ice cube trays so I can pull out a cube at a time.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: janedoe67

                                    I do that too with the ice cube tray. It is so handy when a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of stock or you need to thin a sauce.

                                    I try and always make stock, in a giant pot and then into the freezer to last me about 3 months.

                                  2. I mostly use a boxed chicken broth. My freezer is too small to keep home made stock. And, I don't have the time to really plan ahead. If I saw a recipe that needed homemade stock, I would never make that recipe.

                                    1. I make a batch so I always have some in the freezer. I've never tried anything store-bought that even comes close to the taste and richness of home-made (which also gets nice and gelatinous). For example, the braised potatoes from this month's CH Braising ended up with an almost syrupy glaze, which I wouldn't have got if I used store-bought broth. It's not difficult to make a batch which will last you a while if you can freeze it. It's really more of a time issue, so I do it on the weekends.

                                      But if you really want to make it easy, sometimes I "cheat" -in the crockpot. So easy and frees up the stove. In fact, I did a batch yesterday. Yesterday afternoon, threw in what I had available - the saved carcass of the Marcella roast chicken I made last month (from the freezer), 3 chicken leg quarters since they were on sale, peppercorns, a bay leaf, chopped carrots, onions, and celery (I never peel the vegs for more time-saving), and a few thyme and parsley sprigs. My 'secret' ingredient is a tip I learned from the late Jean-Louis Palladin in one of his cookbooks -a small can of V-8. Pour in water, leave cover slightly ajar, cook on high for 6 hours. Skim periodically. Strain through cheesecloth or even paper towels. I put it in the fridge overnight. Today I'll remove any fat that has solidified on the surface, and freeze the rest. At least half of the amount I freeze in ice cube trays. Pop them out, throw them in freezer bags - use whenever needed.

                                      1. What do y'all do with leftover chicken carcases?
                                        I do roast chicken frequently. After I strip off most of the meat, I throw the bones, wingtips, pan dripping, leftover aromatics from the roasting pan, etc, into a pot with water and simmer for a couple of hours. Strain. The strainer goes into the dishwasher. I get a small pot of rich stock for soup with the leftover scraps of chicken or to keep on hand for deglazing or other uses. It's not like perfect clarified stock but it's free and damned tasty. Maybe my French heritage? Waste not, want not?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: MakingSense

                                          Do this with your turkey after thanksgiving. I do it and make turkey and dumplin's the next day with the left overs. It's great.


                                        2. Virtually 100% homemade. I make chicken stock every one-two months and freeze in handy square freezer containers (though the lids have a knack for getting lost, so my supply of sets of tops and bottoms dwindles). And I don't plan ahead -- I'll take a container out of the freezer, stick in a bowl of water (to loosen), dump in a pot and heat, and then use. Once in a blue moon I'll buy the container of natural stock. I rarely save up -- I'll buy a whole chicken (or parts) on sale and make it.

                                          One of the cooking magazines did a survey of stocks -- some brands seem to be cooked entirely from fat, so that when they boil down, there's nothing (!) left 'cause there's no gelatin (? - the stuff from bones) Using my own I don't have to worry that there will be a tinny or odd taste -- it's all savory -- whether in a braise, soup or pilaf.

                                          1. Mostly homemade, and like MakingSense, not 100% clarified, but it works for me. Frozen in 1-cup or 1/2 cup increments.

                                            Otherwise, Kitchen Basics or now that it's no longer sold at my Trader Joe's, their organic brand of boxed chicken broth/stock.

                                            1. Occasionally homemade but usually Kitchen Basics. I hate Swanson's. If I just need broth, though, and I have the time, I'll buy a whole chicken from the Mexican market for a few dollars and simmer it -- but I don't often have the time for the whole écumer-dépouiller-écumer-dépouiller business for stock.

                                              1. My freezer is basically useless, so I rely on boxed chicken/beef/veggie stock, the Pacific brand.

                                                1. I do both.
                                                  I use the Campbell's low sodium chicken stock for simple things but if I'm making a chicken soup/stew/whatever, I use the good stuff.
                                                  I save my used cottage cheese tubs and pour into them and freeze. It's all measured out for me that way.
                                                  Right now in my freezer I have chicken, turkey, duck, shrimp and crab bones that I need to make stock with. Now that summer's over with.


                                                  1. The store-bought broth, both canned and in the box, is made from simmered and seasoned carcasses, isn't it? Why is this inferior to a frozen batch we've made at home? Isn't it the same thing?

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                      No, it is not the same thing! The boxed stuff is a little better, but commercial stock is mostly salt/other ingredients, very little chicken flavor and almost no body.

                                                      There's probably no greater disparity in the culinary world than the difference in quality between canned/boxed stock and homemade. Night and day.

                                                      Homemade stock is one factor that separates mediocre chefs from great ones.

                                                    2. I usually make a 16 qt stockpot of beef and chicken stock every 2-3 months. I do keep canned low-salt stock on hand, but I prefer to use stock that I have made.

                                                      I have made pork and fish stock, but I don't make them at home as I don't use much of either and both can be replied by vegetable or chicken stock.

                                                      Stock is extremely simple and inexpensive to make, and the difference it makes to soups, stews and sauces is immeasurable. trying to reduce commercial stock for a demi-glacé will quickly reveal the differences

                                                      1. My (erroneous) thinking was that big food companies wouldn't waste the chicken bones, so they'd make stock--but maybe the chicken bones go for dog/cat food, or ???, and very little actual chicken goes into what is sold as "chicken broth". I'm a newer cook--glad to learn. (There are LOTZ of stock instructions on the internet we can follow.)

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                          Actually pet foods use the head, feet and internal organs. Why am I thinking that the bones go into cattle feed?
                                                          I make big batches of stock from turkeys which we have at least once a month in the winter, and I freeze some in gallon containers and the rest in smaller ricotta or yogurt containers, so I have different amounts easily available for different purposes. I find turkey broth to be very all-purpose.
                                                          You can get away with base or canned with certain recipes, like split pea or bean soups, but a chicken based soup like the Greek lemon or Italian Strachiatelle (that may be wrong spelling!) don't even bother to make these kind of soups without homemade stock.

                                                        2. I always have my own stock. The sad reason is that I have this geriatric cat for whom I cook all his food-- plain chicken.So I'm always throwing a bunch of chicken breasts and thighs in a pot to cook them for the cat; might as well make stock. Nothing fancy, just some onions and carrots, then the chix and water. So I am never out of chicken stock! I freeze it in a mixture of container sizes, so I've got 3 cups if I need it, or 1 cup.

                                                          1. I always kepp homemade stock on hand. I live in the Catskills where there are lots of 2nd home so most Monday there are chickens with 1/2 off if they over ordered. So I always have a stock of chickens to make stock from. I also keep high quality chicken and beef soup bases if I am just making a gravy. And I keep low sodium commercial stock available for unexpected circumstances. But I prefer homemade.

                                                            1. I use homemade if I have it on hand, but I don't make it for any particular recipe. Probably make it 3-4 times a year. Otherwise I use the boxed stuff.

                                                              1. I make my own, freeze it, and then always have it on hand. I don't like canned chicken stock and I don't care WHAT Rachel Ray says!


                                                                1. I do it when I have it. I tend to go through phases -- sometimes I'll make a point of saving bones to turn into stock, or making a big pot of chicken soup, using half of the broth for other things, as I am this week. Then again, sometimes I'll just buy a box of organic broth from the store. It also depends on what I'm using it for, ya know?

                                                                  1. Put me in the "home-made" pile, too...

                                                                    I usually make 2-3 gallons at a time- I stockpile poultry carcasses until I have 6 or 7, then make a big batch. I freeze the carcasses individually incase I just need to make a little batch of broth for a small pot of jambalaya or risotto.

                                                                    I do the same with beef stock, but I usually immediately reduce it from 2 gallons down to a quart and use the glace a teaspoon at a time.

                                                                    Every once in a while, Ill go out and buy a can/box of store bought if it is an ingredient in a soup.

                                                                    1. I perfer to use homemade stock and keep it in batches in the freezer. When I use the boxed stuff I buy organic. Have you ever read the ingredient list on a "regular" box of chix. broth? I don't think there's any chix. in there!

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: bolivianita

                                                                        You can buy fresh stock these days from most good supermarkets. It's not so bad, once you get over the fact that it's made in huge vats and in commercial quantities.


                                                                      2. Like some others, I make my own stock. It's so easy -- just toss a bunch of chicken parts from a roasted chicken or buy some of the cheaper parts and simmer them for a few hours on the stove. You can toss some as you're making dinner, and its pretty much done by the time you go to bed. Then I just freeze it in variously sized plastic containers and take it out as needed. That way, you can whip up soup or fantastic rice anytime you want. I don't like the way canned stock tastes either.

                                                                        1. I get spent laying hens from a local farmer and make large batches of stock. I do this about twice a year and keep it in the freezer. There is no comparison to commercial stock, and the most expensive ingredient is the freezer containers!

                                                                          1. I make all my own stocks from accumulated chicken, fish and other seafood bits. I freeze the stock in quart yogurt containers which fit into the door of the upright freezer. I would guess that at any time I have at least 20 quarts ready to be used.

                                                                            I don't like any of the commercial stocks I've tried, they have off flavors which I don't like.

                                                                            1. Yes, we make very large containers ad freeze it both one and 3 cup containers as well as ice cube size. It makes a huge difference. I also use stock as the base for any chicken soup I make which gives it really depth of flavor. We don't accumulate enough scraps, althugh they do go in, so I buy 30-40 pds of chicken backs/feet/wings/thighs to make it iwth.

                                                                              1. Yes, We make stock in a 20 qt. kettle. Stewing hens when available, backs, wings and feet plus any scraps made every couple of months. We haven't bought canned in probably 15 years and that was an error.

                                                                                1. I guess I'm like most everyone else. I have plenty of the boxed stuff in my pantry, but whenever I roast a chicken, I use the carcass for stock. I'm not religious about it, though, like some people I know. I prefer it more if I am making a soup where the stock flavor is more apparent. I also use the slow cooker method for my carcass.

                                                                                  1. I make my own stock, supplemented by the low-sodium Trader Joe's stuff when I run out.

                                                                                    I like my stock to be as unfussy as possible. I just save all chicken bones in a big ziploc in the freezer, primarily leftover Costco rotisserie chickens! When the big bag is full, I add some celery, carrots, leeks, and parsley and simmer 6-8 hours.

                                                                                    It looks like chicken jello when cooled and will make a big difference in anything where the stock is a main flavor. I freeze it in muffin tins and put the 3/4c ice cubes in another big ziploc.

                                                                                    1. I usually make chicken stock once every two weeks...and I roast the bones and throw em back in for a darker, richer stock. If I want a lighter "broth", I don't roast the bones. I freeze what I won't use in a few days.

                                                                                      1. If anyone tells you that canned or boxed broth/stock "tastes just like homemade", my guess is that they've never had homemade broth/stock! I make chicken, beef and vegetable broths and stocks on a regular basis. They take very little time and effort, freeze well, and just can't be compared to the off the shelf product. My favorite recipe is one I've created for chicken broth using a rooster and the chicken feet (you'll have to get theses at a farm market or farmers market). A whole chicken can be substituted for the rooster. It produces a cloudy broth that is packed with flavor. Nothing like it!

                                                                                        Rooster and Chicken Feet Broth
                                                                                        Many country and Jewish cooks will tell you that the secret to the most flavorful chicken broth is chicken feet. I definitely agree. But you probably won’t find chicken feet at the grocery store. Ask your local poultry producer if he/she can get them for you. Trust me, it’s worth the effort! The broth produced will be cloudy and packed full of flavor. Here's the recipe--
                                                                                        For more soup recipes go to: www.goinglocal-info.com

                                                                                        Rooster and chicken Feet Broth

                                                                                        One rooster, fresh or thawed
                                                                                        1 lb chicken feet, thawed
                                                                                        16 cups of water
                                                                                        2 medium onions, peels removed, cut in half lengthwise
                                                                                        5 celery stalks, cut into 1 inch pieces
                                                                                        2 carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
                                                                                        10 sprigs of fresh parsley
                                                                                        10 sprigs of fresh dill
                                                                                        Put rooster and chicken feet in a large stock pot. Add the water to the pot.
                                                                                        Place the pot on medium high heat and bring to a rolling boil. Lower the heat so that the water is on a gentle simmer.
                                                                                        Skim the “protein foam” off the top every few minutes and discard it.
                                                                                        After 30 minutes, add the vegetables, parsley, and dill to the pot. Bring the water back to a gentle simmer.
                                                                                        Cover the pot with the lid, leaving the lid slightly ajar to allow for some steam to escape.
                                                                                        Simmer gently for 1 ½ hours. Remove the pot from the heat.
                                                                                        Place four layers of cheesecloth over a fine mesh strainer and strain the broth through the cheesecloth into a large glass bowl. Pour the broth into glass quart size canning jars and cool for 30 minutes.
                                                                                        Discard the rooster, vegetables, herbs, and feet. (Unless the rooster is very young, the meat on him will be very rubbery and inedible.
                                                                                        )Cover the broth jars with screw type metal or plastic lids and refrigerate.
                                                                                        Once the broth is completely cooled (overnight is best), there will be a layer of fat on the top of each jar. If you’re making matzo balls to go with the soup, save this fat to use in your recipe. If not, you can discard the fat.
                                                                                        The broth can be frozen in freezer safe jars or plastic ware for up to a year.
                                                                                        Makes about 16 cups of broth.

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: GOING LOCAL

                                                                                          I'm fascinated by the idea of using feet. I do make my own stock, usually from cheap packages of chicken backs that my store sometimes sells. But I have seen chicken feet at the market down the road that caters to many latino customers, so I'll have to give this a try-- thanks! (will have to hide the feet from my squeemish kids though :))

                                                                                          1. re: DGresh

                                                                                            I went and picked up a package of chicken feet at the market down the road and made stock yesterday with that, along with about 4lb of chicken backs and a leftover roasted chicken carcass. Cooked it for a couple of hours, then added the vegetables for another hour or so. Cooled in the refrigerator overnight. I've never produced such a rich looking stock! Definately like chicken jello. As a note, after I threw the feet in the pot (trying not to look too closely at them) I did some googling and saw some people recommend trimming the toenails or some such thing first. I figured there was no way I was going to do that anyway, so I let them be.

                                                                                            So I'm wondering all; what special use should I use this rich looking stock for; I've got "thinner" broths in my freezer that I've been pretty happy with for soup bases and so on, but what would take best advantage of this richer result?

                                                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                                                              Now I'm gung-ho too. I have eaten chicken feet before (not my fave, but hey, gotta try it, right?) I am intrigued by the difference in stock. Like you, DGresh, I usually make a stock with chicken backs, necks, or a combination of the two. How much did the feet go for, per pound? Significant price difference than making the stock with the backs/necks?

                                                                                              1. re: foxy fairy

                                                                                                It's funny, the feet were quite a bit more expensive than the backs (which were nearly free; I think $1.50 for 2 lb). If I recall, the 1 lb package of feet was about $2 something; priced like thighs or so which I was kind of surprised at. Since I used 1 lb feet to 4 lb of backs, the increase in price wasn't a huge deal.

                                                                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                  I'm going to keep my eyes open for them too. When I was down south, they called them Chicken Paws, but said most of them get shipped to China now.

                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                    Well with my "feet-enhanced" stock I made a small pot of chicken soup for my sick little boy today-- just added some cut up chicken and some fine egg noodles, and enough salt to brighten the flavor. I tasted it before I gave it to him and wow was it delicious. My little sickie said "This is REALLY good!" High praise from an 11 year old.

                                                                                        2. I do homemade, as I always buy my chicken whole and like the thought of using every part of a chicken. I use a pressure cooker though; it's so much faster. I'm a big sauce guy, so having quality stock is pretty important to me. The differences between store bought stock vs real stock is huge.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: phan1

                                                                                            I've been turning chicken & turkey carcasses into stock for a long time, but recently made a committment to do my own stocks exclusively. I'm impatient; I use a pressure cookier. After I strain off my stock, I have learned to simmer it down to strengthen the flavor. I store it in the freezer. The PC extracts the gelatin in the bones. You cannot get that in typical storebought. I have a freezer on the bottom, and right now it is crammed.

                                                                                          2. I make homemade chicken stock/broth, but only use it in simple soup recipes or risotto. Otherwise, it's Better than Bouillon (hangs head in shame). I'm one person though, so it's a treat when I have the time and resources to make it, and find it a shame to use it in a dish where it isn't the main flavor or component.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: link_930

                                                                                              I do the same thing. I think Better Than Bouillon (chicken) is acceptable, but the veggie, beef, etc. taste absolutely nothing like beef or vegetable broth.

                                                                                              For soup, actual chicken stock is a must. For use to cook rice or something, Better Than Bouillon is good enough for me.

                                                                                            2. Another vote for "homemade". I have a neighbor with aged greyhounds, who are fed rotisserie chickens. The owners are vegetarians, so they give me the carcasses and when I've got about 5, I crush them and make super-concentrated stock that I keep in various sizes- from ice cube to quart bag- in the freezer. I'm often so overloaded that I give it away to my friends.

                                                                                              Someone here also gave me the tip to freeze my carrot, onion and celery 'bits' in the freezer for making stock (instead of sending to the compost heap), and that's been super helpful.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: cheesemonger

                                                                                                It's a great tip. I long for the house we're soon to buy with enough space for a serious freezer into which I can put a container large enough to hold the chicken/poultry parts and vegetable ends for a whole pot of stock.

                                                                                              2. I just wonder how much space everyone seems to have in their freezers. We are saving up bones, carcasses, plus the existing stock. I do my best to keep homemade stock on hand, but I live in an apartment, and there are only so many things I can throw into the freezer before it starts throwing them back out at me.

                                                                                                I also keep/freeze leftover bread for stuffing, croutons, and homemade breadcrumbs whenever I have the space.

                                                                                                Also, this might be heresy, but when I make my own stock, I actually use half bought stock and half water. It makes the final product richer I find, and lets me not bother with quite so many aromatics.

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: aletnes

                                                                                                  Yes - I often have chicken carcasses flying out at me, but my new method of cutting up the carcass and putting the pieces into a ziplock bag seems to be helping.

                                                                                                  1. re: aletnes

                                                                                                    I feel for you. I have *two* full-size freezers in my basement. Yes two. If I just had the freezer in my side-by-side, well, I wouldn't be very happy!

                                                                                                    1. re: aletnes

                                                                                                      I live in an apartment too and we had a small freezer for several years...until we decided it was too small. Now our patio containa a 3/4 size. Worth its weight in gold. Stock, half a pig, a whole lamb, and food for the infant.

                                                                                                      1. re: aletnes

                                                                                                        I also live in an apartment, with only the fridge/freezer to use. Thankfully, though, I've made it enough times that it's not too overwhelming to make smaller batches a little more often.

                                                                                                        Just recently learned about saving veggie ends and onion skins in the freezer, too. Great idea!

                                                                                                      2. Everytime I make roast chicken or roast turkey, we save the carcass and put it in the freezer. When I have two or three of them, I will make a batch of stock, then freeze the stock in quart or pint containers. I never run out of stock, and since we almost always have a chicken or turkey each week or two, there's plenty on hand. Its great for making quick soups, sauces, etc..

                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                        1. re: Felixnot

                                                                                                          This morning I spatchcocked a chicken that I was going to slow grill tonight and used the backbone, neck, wingtips, gizzard and heart a long with a previously frozen roasted carcass to make stock. The stock was used to make a kale and lentil soup that we will eat tomorrow.

                                                                                                        2. I just started making my own chicken stock in November and the results delight me. I use Silver Palate method, as I started when we read this for Cookbook of the Month. I buy chicken backs or necks (99 cents a pound or less), brown for 15 minutes, then add some carrots, celery, a few celery leaves, wait until the veggies soften, then add bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley, thyme, and cover with water. Recipe says simmer for two hours, but I try to go as long as possible. Then I let it cool, strain it, squeezing really REALLY hard to get all of the juicies out of the chicken and veggies. I let it cool, then cover and let it sit overnight. Then the next day I skim off the top layer of fat, and freeze it in ziplocs in one or two cup portions. I double Ziploc and label with date and amount.

                                                                                                          In yesterday's batch, I just started adding onion skins for a more golden color. Mmmmmm. The more I cook with homemade stock, the more I just thrill at the flavors. There is something deeply satisfying about the process of making the stock, the house smells wonderful, and I like knowing that I'm setting up layers and layers of flavor for stunning meals in the future.

                                                                                                          1. I roast the bones and then reduce the stock after clarifying (straining, whipped egg whites....). Always have homemade chicken and fish stock on hand. So am I a "gourmet"? NO way. I can use the precious stock for things like instant ramen, using the stock, some of my curry powder, bit of salt, all in place of the soup mix packet and water. Very rich and filling.

                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                              Hi Sam,

                                                                                                              When I first saw your post and you mentioned egg whites I immediately thought what an awful lot of work that would be. In cooking school we did rafts to clarify bouillons.

                                                                                                              Rethinking the idea though because my routine now is one coarse strainer, one fine strainer, twice through cheesecloth, cool and remove the fat. Do you think that egg whites simplify the process or just a better end product?


                                                                                                              1. re: Mila

                                                                                                                Mila, I skim and then either strain or raft or both. I need whatever is simpler and more effective without my getting overly obsessed, but am never fully satisfied with the clarity of my stocks. This might sound idiotic, but I'm a pretty good egg white beater, getting what I want quickly and without a sore arm.

                                                                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                                                                  I do the whites and crushed shells thing, learned from the Joy of Cooking, after straining through the chinois. I will clarify some of my stock, and mark it accordingly. Stock that I'm going to use for most reductions, or things like pot pie, I don't bother clarifying. Stock for aspic, or clear soups- egg clarified.

                                                                                                                  I don't think of it as a lot of work- just beat it, stir it in while stock is cool, and bring to a very low simmer, ladle the liquid into the chinois. I love a beautifully clarified stock- it's like a gem- dense and colorful and without occlusions.

                                                                                                                  1. re: cheesemonger

                                                                                                                    Thanks Sam & Cheesemonger.
                                                                                                                    I guess it is a fine line between effective and obsessive.

                                                                                                                    Good idea to clarify only what you need for special items.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Mila

                                                                                                                      Mila, you should remember that clarifying also removes some flavor, so you really should only clarify what you are going to use for special recipes that really need that clarity.

                                                                                                                      As I never serve clear soups or consomme' that really need the clarified stock I never take the time. If you really want to clarify without removing too much flavor you should be sure to use clearmeat and eggwhites.

                                                                                                            2. After having ruined one too many gravies, risottos, pan sauces, stuffings, etc, trying to use canned broth...... I use homemade now. It is so much better! If I can't make it myself, I buy a homemade stock from a local small gourmet grocery store.

                                                                                                              The only places where I have found that I can get away with using a boxed stock like Kitchen basics or even Swanson's broth is in a pureed vegetable soup, where the veggie flavor will dominate and concentration of the flavor intrinsic to the stock is not so important. Braised beef short ribs also seem to impart such a rich flavor that you can get away with using a boxed stock without too much compromise.

                                                                                                              1. always homemade, never canned or powder
                                                                                                                I keep different sizes of it frozen - 1c, 6c, 1/2 cup ETC
                                                                                                                best stock comes from using the whole bird, including the feet
                                                                                                                roasting the bones etc is also a nice touch, for brown stock
                                                                                                                it's totally easy (I don't clarify, I don't care!) and cheap, if you have a freezer

                                                                                                                1. I often buy a whole chicken, remove the breasts and legs, and make a quick stock out of the carcass and wings (I add onion, pepper, bay leaf, and a couple of cloves). I simmer it for quite a while, defat, reduce it to 1-2 cups, and then freeze in ~1/2 cup portions. It keeps very well. I'll also buy those cartons of chicken stock to use when smaller amounts are needed.

                                                                                                                  1. I use both. Sometimes the boxed stuff is darned convenient. I usually make my poultry stock with turkey wings. I think home made is essential though for beef and veal stocks. I've never found commercial meat stocks that are any good.

                                                                                                                    1. I prefer to use homemade stock, but will use canned in a pinch. Generally, I make beef stock two times a year, when I go in with some friends on a side of beef (the bones are thrown in for free). That stock is treated like liquid gold, doled out for only the best uses. I make chicken broth more often, and as a result I use it more as well. I save the bones from roast chicken and the raw necks, as well as the backs from buying chicken and cutting into pieces myself. Every once in a while, I'll find organic backs on sale at Whole Foods, and I'll buy some to supplement my scraps. Once there's enough in the freezer, into the crockpot it goes. I used to be very uptight about only putting chicken in chicken stock. Then I started using the Splendid Table cookbook, which frequently calls for "meat stock," made of any bones and meat you've got handy. So now my random beef bones go right on in with the chicken, and the resulting rich stock is fantastic in most all recipes. If something might get overwhelmed by a stronger stock, I usually have some straight-up chicken stock on hand anyway.

                                                                                                                      1. I save the chicken bits for stock, but I don't use them for anything but soup. My stocks tend to have all sorts of flavors going on because I save up whatever vegetables, etc. and freeze them for the stock too. The flavors are often strong and can overwhelm certain things.

                                                                                                                        1. Can anyone share their specific recipe /steps involved in making stock in the crock pot? I'm experimenting today...first time stock maker...
                                                                                                                          I had a chicken carcass in the freezer, threw it in the crock pot with carrots, thyme, onion, garlic. I filled up the crockpot with water and set it on LOW this morning (8:30AM). What is supposed to happen next? Will it be done by the time I get home?
                                                                                                                          Thanks for your help...

                                                                                                                          1. I'm a combination girl: mostly I have homemade on hand but also resort to using store bought organic-low-sodium when i need to. I make my own every time i have roast chicken - once a month or so - and I freeze in both 2cup portion sizes as well as in icecube trays that i dump into tuperware so that I have individual portions if i need them to add a bit of flavour to soup or vegies etc...works out really well for me.

                                                                                                                            1. I make chicken soup but I add Telma low sodium chicken powder. I also made a stock using Osem consomme powder with sauteed carrot, celery and onion and cooked the broth for 15 minutes. Later adding noodles for a quick meal.

                                                                                                                              1. For chicken soups and chicken and dumplings, I use home made broth enriched with chicken bouillion. I really like to make the home made stuff because I love nibbling on boiled chicken. I have yet to make a real stock where you roast the bones before adding the water and veggies. It's a goal I have yet to accomplish.

                                                                                                                                1. I make my own chicken stock and freeze it. I use bones from left over roast chicken, and supplement with chicken wings (lots of collagen and cheap!). I like to use this for soups, but also stuff like braising and risotto.

                                                                                                                                  Making your own also lets you tailor it to your cooking needs. I try to have white stock and brown stock (roast bones first, add a bit of tomato paste, gives darker stock and deeper flavour) in the freezer, but I'm not always that organized! I always seem to have either no stock in the freezer, or way too much.

                                                                                                                                  This year I want to make a pork stock for asian soups. Anyone have tips for that?

                                                                                                                                  1. I'll do it if I have it on hand. When I roast a chicken, I'll use the carcas to make stock. Just did it last night and now have about 3 quarts. I don't have enough room to make large batches but it's so easy to do it when I've got something to use.

                                                                                                                                    1. Boxed and canned broth is very salty and the low-salt options have little taste. I wonder how commercial broth is made because it is nothing like homemade. I made my first batch of homamade broth yesterday and it's very tasty with very little salt added. There was 1/2 inch of fat on the top, but the stuff underneath is amber in color and thick and gloppy. It's so tasty. I feel like I have a little treasure here now. I plan on making a healthy vegetable soup with half of it later today and the other half went into the freezer for a future feast. I'm hooked on making my own now.

                                                                                                                                      1. I almost always make my own stock. I make a big batch and freeze it in single use containers. And I usually have a tub of Major chicken base in the fridge. It is a commercial product made from real chicken and not salty.

                                                                                                                                        1. typically I have home made stock on hand in the freezer, or make some for a specific recipe.

                                                                                                                                          Occasionally when I am feeling lazy, or time strapped I will buy a low sodium canned broth @ the store( I hate to so this since the store bought stocks effect the flavor of the dish).

                                                                                                                                          1. I've been making my own chicken stock for a few months now. I love it, but I'm only getting about half the amount of stock than the recipe says I should get. I'm guessing this means it's okay to treat the stock as concentrated and add water to it for the soups I'm making. Also, does anyone have ideas for the leftover vegetables and bones from the stock? Can I put them in a blender and make a dog or cat treat from them?

                                                                                                                                            1. The Spousal Unit and I make our own. I'll use the stuff from the store, but it's not very good.

                                                                                                                                              I keep a freezer storage zip top bag in the freezer to receive bones in the freezer all of the time. From time to time I'll buy a package of chicken necks or backs just to make stock with.

                                                                                                                                              Chicken stock (or turkey or duck) is easy. Beef stock is a bigger production, mostly because we don't buy much bone-on beef and it takes so much longer to do it.

                                                                                                                                              I'm fortunate that I have a freezer in my garage. There is a shelf that is about chest-high for me that I keep mostly empty just for making stock.

                                                                                                                                              I keep two liter bottles of water in the freezer to improve the thermal mass, and as a hurricane preparation, so I am always ready to chill a hot stock in a hurry. I use the “beer and bait 'frige” to chill the stock overnight for de-fatting in the morning. Then I ladle it into cups collected as throws from parades at Mardi Gras when we lived in NOLA. I ladle a one cup measure into each cup, load up a tray and put it in the deep freeze. The next day, I just have to pop the one-cup measures of stock into a freezer bag, date it and put it back in the freezer.

                                                                                                                                              It doesn't matter how often we make it, it never lasts long enough.

                                                                                                                                              To the person who said that they would never choose a recipe that required so much pre planning as to necessitate making stock, I just had to laugh. I find it hard to cook without stock; it's a basic like olive oil or garlic.

                                                                                                                                              When I have it on hand, I use it in everything. Wanna make those mashed spuds tasty yet lower in fat? Use stock in place of some of the butter! Making rice or cous cous? It'l be better made with stock than water! Gonna nuke some corn kernels to serve with the chicken? A tablespoon of stock makes it way yummier than water!

                                                                                                                                              1. I do absolutely use homemade chicken stock when making chicken & noodles, chicken & gravy, or chicken a la king. If you put a few leg-thigh pieces in a large crock pot with an onion and some celery and water up to the top, the stock makes itself overnight, no problem. Then just pour it through a colander and you're done.

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                  I have never thought to make stock in a crock pot! Dah! Usually I have a big pot with a lot of things thrown into my freezer bag so not sure if it would fit in my crock pot, but it's a great idea.

                                                                                                                                                2. +1 on homemade chicken stock. Nothing is better and easier to make. You don't have to necessarily save up chicken parts. If you have a carcass left over, you can just tear it apart, thow it into a slow cooker and let it simmer overnight. When you wake up, or after about 8 yours, you can throw in some pepper corns, celery, carrots, onion and a little garlic for another hour or two. Makes great stock.

                                                                                                                                                  My oven also has a slow cooker setting (hi and low), so I can make large pots in this same manner and not have to worry about a big pot sitting under a gas burner. I can leave the house and come back to a wonderful smell.

                                                                                                                                                  On a side note... does anyone know where to get chicken feet in the Marietta / Atlanta area? I saw some posts on making chicken stock with these, and have read similar things elsewhere. I'd be intersted in trying this, especially if it adds more depth and is a cheap addition. Always willing to try something new.

                                                                                                                                                  1. Strictly homemade. I never buy chicken parts, and a whole chicken can do so much.

                                                                                                                                                    Okay, so we want Thai chicken curry for dinner. Remove and debone the thighs, and use the meat for the curry. Throw the thigh bones along with the rest of the chicken into a pressure cooker with a few tablespoons of water. Pressure steam for 15 minutes, then pick the meat off the carcass for another application (chicken & dumplings, chicken soup, chicken enchiladas, etc.). Toss the bones back into the pressure cooker with any aromatics that are available (this also uses up things like limp carrots and sprouting onions) and cook for an hour or two. Strain off the stock and freeze if not using immediately. Dump the rest of the stuff (bones, veggies, little bits of meat) into the stand mixer with som leftover rice (or oatmeal or stale bread or crackers or whatever), and fed it to the dogs.

                                                                                                                                                    One 4-pound chicken makes at least two meals for the family and two meals for the dogs. Everybody's happy.

                                                                                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                      I like your attention to the dogs! I don't want to start cooking for my dog though--she's spoiled enough. :)

                                                                                                                                                      I use a mix of homemade stock and store bought. We don't eat much roast chicken. I like to make stock with chicken wings. They add a meaty taste, not just a bone taste (at least I hope so, since it's more expensive). like others, I will either roast the wings for a dark stock, or not roast for a lighter stock. I haven't made any in a while though, I have gotten lazy. To me, the best and most important part of real stock is the body you get from the gelatin in the bones. I wonder if anyone has tasted stocks side by side made with only bones, or both bones and meat? I have not.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cocktailhour

                                                                                                                                                        You feed the chicken bones to your dogs? I had always heard to never, ever feed chicken bones to a dog. Apparently they splinter and can tear their throats going down.

                                                                                                                                                        Or is that just an urban legend?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FrenchSoda

                                                                                                                                                          It's true that bones from chicken that has just been cooked are splintery and should never be given to dogs. But when you make stock of those bones, the collagen cooks out and they become very friable (crumbly). Put them in the stand mixer with whatever meat was left on the carcass, the overcooked veggies from the stock, and a little liquid, and the whole thing turns to a vet-approved paste that the pups love.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                                                                                            Recently my dog stole some chicken bones discarded from the stockpot. They reappeared at 4 a.m. the next morning! So I would recommend that dog owners proceed with caution. But he does enjoy the carrot and meat bits that I strain out.

                                                                                                                                                      2. If I have homemade stock on hand I use it for everything from making rice to risotto. If I don't have homemade on hand I use Swanson's or Kitchen Basic's. If I am mkaing soup I try to always use homemade.

                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                          I make homemade chicken stock also. I typically use backs (skin removed) and necks when I make stock. But I may buy some chicken feet from the Chinese supermarket and try that next time.

                                                                                                                                                          I find that the flavor of homemade stock is so much better in my foods than canned or boxed broths/stocks. Ktichen Basics isn't bad in a pinch, but I typically have homemade stock available in the freezer for use in my soups, gravies, sauces, rice, stuffings, etc.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I use both, depending on how much I care about the quality of the finished product. We also only use homemade as "medicine", for colds or when getting over stomach bugs. Two tips: put a tablespoon of vinegar in the stock to suck the calcium out of the bones and into the soup, and only put the dill in at the very end, for a few minutes, and then fish it out. You'll still get the lovely dill flavor, but won't get the bitterness that sometimes comes with dill. And add parsnips along with the onions/garlin/celery/carrots at the beginning!