There was much debate over what recipe to do first for the launch of Kristen B.’s Kitchen (still not sold on the name, still open to ideas.) I made a list of all my family’s favorites to eat, and then another list of all my favorite things to cook, and then a third list that detailed all the things I love about making lists.
Two out of those three lists shared one thing in common. A main ingredient. Not a fancy ingredient, but a hard working one. Not a whole meal, but the basis for more than 50% of the meals we eat. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you…
Ok, so chicken stock is not the most glamorous recipe, I know this. But it’s is high functioning, lending itself to soups, sauces, and casseroles. Homemade chicken stock is, in my humble opinion, more flavorful than store bought as well as significantly more cost effective. When you make your stock at home, you use things you already have on hand (carrots, onions, garlic), things you would have thrown away (chicken bones, fat) and the most basic of basic ingredients (water.)
I make a batch of stock every two weeks. It freezes well, so I freeze half and use the other half as needed. One thing to know about homemade chicken stock is that since it is made from real food (read: no preservatives, additives, and other itives) it’s fridge shelf life is slightly shorter than the box stuff. Again, because it’s real food, it won’t last indefinitely. Which is really just more incentive to make more Jambalaya. Or Buffalo Chicken Soup. Or Enchiladas. Mine has lasted as long as 10 days, but since I use it so often, I’ve never had to push it further.
You’ll Need: A crockpot, a strainer, slotted spoon, ladle, clear or white bowl
- 1 ½-2 lbs chicken bones/chicken fat/chicken scraps
- 8 carrots, peeled, cut into finger length sections
- 1 onion, quartered
- 4 cloves minced garlic ( about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 tsp Thyme
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Parsley
- 12 cups of water
Cook Time: 10 hours
Chicken bones. I save all the fat and bones trimmed from other pieces (thighs and breasts) and bag them up in some small Ziplocs. Two sandwich sized Ziplocs full tend to be the perfect amount.
Layer all dry ingredients in the crockpot. Save the spices for last.
Pour 12 cups of water into the crockpot.
Set cook time for 10 hours on HIGH.
Go do some stuff for ten hours. Fold laundry. Sleep. Read a nice book. Read a nice book about folding laundry in your sleep.
When the cook time has finished, turn off the crockpot and let the stock cool. This allows some of the fat to rise to the top, making it easy to skim off.
Line a strainer with good quality paper towels. You don’t want them to be too thin, or they won’t strain. You could also try coffee filters.
Using your slotted spoon, fish out all the bones, veggies, and miscellaneous spices.
Dump the bones in the trash, and the stock back into the crockpot. You want to use a clear or lightly colored bowl so you can make sure the stock is a translucent gold.
Re-line your strainer and rinse your bowl.
Using your ladle, fill up your strainer with liquid. I usually do 5-6 ladles at a time.
Strain the stock. All the delicious, fragrant chicken goodness will go right through your paper towel, and leave behind the bits you wouldn’t want to find in your Chicken Soup.
Transfer the stock into a plastic container. Don’t use glass, since you’re planning on freezing! I use a closed top pitcher for easy pouring.
Go back to the re-line your strainer step, and do it all over again until your crockpot is empty.
Your stock has a golden glow and is ready to go! Cook all the things!
This chicken stock is literally the backbone of my meal planning; it does all the heavy lifting. I hope it is equally transformative for your kitchen. Now that we’ve got a basic down, I’m thinking we move onto a full meal. Any requests? Shoot ‘em at me in the comments!
Kristen B. is wife to the best Prince around, mama to the spunkiest little princesses, and lover of all things Disney. She started her savings journey three years ago and is now dedicated to making her family’s wishes come true one coupon at a time. She is so excited to take her love of saving to the next level and share her journey with you! Click here to catch up on Kristen’s Savings and join in on your own savings adventure!