I have made from-scratch chicken stock a couple of times now, and I can't believe I am only discovering it now! It could not be simpler and is SO much cheaper than store-bought chicken stock.
In case you are wondering, I did NOT use my sweet chickens for this chicken soup :) But in the future, any extra roosters that are not used for breeding will be processed for meat. It will be tough, but a necessary part of homesteading for us.
To make homemade stock, simply use the leftover chicken carcass from a whole chicken that you have cooked for dinner. I like to buy organic, free-range chicken if possible.
Step 1. Fill a huge pot with water and place the chicken carcass in the pot. Bring to a boil.
Step 2. Add onions, carrots, celery, or whatever you like to your stock for flavor.
Step 3. Add spices- salt and pepper, parsley, bay leaf, and other herbs if you choose.
Step 4. Simmer stock for several hours. You could also cook this in a crock pot if yours is big enough.
Step 5. Take out chicken carcass and strain stock. When cooled, funnel into glass jars for freezing.
It's that simple! Whenever you know you will be using some stock for something, remove a jar or two from the freezer for your meal to thaw. I would guess you could easily make 10 pints or more from one whole chicken. Since I already have the spices on hand, the stock literally costs me nothing to make!
The best part is that this type of slow-cooked, homemade chicken stock is extremely nourishing. Important nutrients and proteins from the chicken bones and organs leach out into the stock and provide a healthy, nutrient-dense bone broth.
Turkey leftovers can work just as easily to make stock - if you are lucky enough to have a local, fresh, free-range turkey then you will have plenty of leftover bones to make enough stock to last you for a long time.
Do you make your own chicken stock? A nice cup of hot chicken soup makes a dreary day so much better :)