Everything has a beginning… One of the first things I learnt to make from ‘scratch’ instead of buying in an instant form was chicken stock. I remember my excitement at realising something didn’t have to taste like MSG… Over the years I have refined my stock-making techniques. I have expanded to beef stock and veg stock and fish stock, and there is still more to learn! Recently I was reading up on ‘perpetual stock’!
The beauty of making your own stock lies not only in its fantastic nutritional value (think collagen, etc.), how inexpensive it is (using basically leftovers), or its versatility in terms of what you can use it for, but in its ability to turn what might otherwise have been a bland meal into something really special. My husband loves to wax lyrical about the tastiness of homemade stock. He touts it as the secret ingredient in my tasty soups and stews!
Low cost, high nutrition:
When I started out, I was using a chicken carcass, a carrot, an onion, a celery stick, and a bay leaf, boiling it up on the stove until soft, and straining it. That still works, especially if you are in a hurry and don’t have any stock on hand. But I have learned a few more tips for the getting the most out of my stock – literally and figuratively. My stock now has more depth of flavour and a higher nutritional profile. At the same time, I have made it more cost effective – win-win!
Firstly, I use chicken heads and feet instead of just chicken bones. This give great flavour and consistency, as well as being very economical. I get them free from a friend who raises chickens, but they are really cheap to buy. Source free-range if you can! Secondly, I now use veg peelings instead of whole vegetables. I also use a wider variety of vegetables – basically anything except potato peels! Onion skins, carrot peels, celery leaves, chard ribs, butternut peel and seeds, tomato skins etc. I freeze these in packages as I generate them and keep them for when I am making stock. I also add the shells from free-range eggs to boost the calcium content of the stock.
Use what you have on hand – it’s hard to go wrong! Try it out and let me know how it goes.
Yields 6 Litres of stock
A budget-friendly recipe for homemade chicken stock
30 minPrep Time
12 hrCook Time
12 hr, 30 Total Time
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (homemade works great)
- 2-4 litres of water
- A few chicken carcasses, leftover chicken bones, and/or 3-6 chicken heads and feet
- Leftover veggie peelings
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1-2cm ginger
- 3 bay leaves
- 6 peppercorns
- Bunch of fresh herbs, mixed (thyme stalks are great)
- Tablespoon coriander seeds
- Add chicken carcasses/bones/heads and feet to a large stock pot (mine is 8 litres). Add apple cider vinegar and cold water up to about 2.5cm/an inch from the top. Leave to soak for 15-20 min – this apparently helps to mobilize the minerals out of the ingredients.
- Turn on the head and bring to the boil.
- Boil for 20 min before placing in hot box. If you are just using the stove then turn down to simmer, and simmer for 8-12 hours.
- If you are using the hot box, take stock out and bring to boil again every 6-8 hours. Repeat twice.
- When stock is done, strain through a sieve, package in freezer-safe containers (I use straight consol jars of varying sizes), cool in a water bath and freeze until needed.
To make beef stock, substitute pastured beef bones for the chicken. For vegetable stock, double up on the veg peelings/add a carrot, onion, tomato, celery rib, garlic and ginger.
Enjoy using your home made stock in your culinary creations! Here are some ideas to get you started: Butternut curry soup, chicken soup, roast chicken gravy, carrot, lemon and ginger soup
- Calories 345
- Total Fat: 4 g 6.15%
- Saturated Fat: 2 g 10%
- Cholesterol: 0 mg 0%
- Sodium: 493 mg 20.54%
- Potassium: 1264 mg 36.11%
- Total Carbohydrate: 75 g %
- Sugar: 3 g
- Protein: 9 g
- Vitamin A: 2.5%
- Calcium: 203 mg 20.3%
- Iron: 17 mg 94.44%