One Bird, Two Stones: Making Stock

Tis the season that many people like to bake roasts and poultry – it does a great job of warming up the house in winter. And when you roast any kind of bone-in meat, you are probably wasting it and not even knowing it.

Finished broth ready to go in fridge or freezer.
Finished broth ready to go in fridge or freezer.

How? Because most people no longer make their own stock (read: broth). Most people today buy their stock in a carton or can – with tons of salt added – in the grocery store. But you can make your own from the boney remains of chickens, turkeys, and pork and beef cuts that you roast. This is awesome to do for several reasons:

  • It’s a great skill to learn how to make much more nutritious stock than what comes in a can
  • To be more budget conscious (no need to buy stock if you make it)
  • To reduce the animal lives killed for our food

The last one might ruffle some feathers, but I have reasons for adding it. I’m not a vegetarian, but I try not to eat a ton of meat simply because most livestock animals in this country are not treated well. Yes, there are exceptions such as my sister and her husband who take excellent care of their cattle and a vegetarian friend who has very pampered chickens who are raised for their eggs and pest control abilities. But in most large commercial farms in this country, animals raised for meat lead horrible lives.

So, I try to buy locally and humanely raised meat whenever I can – but that’s expensive. So anytime I can make the meat I buy go further, I’m a happy woman. One way to do this is to make your own stock. The best part of this? It’s so EASY!

To Make Stock:

  1. Put the remains – bones that were not eaten off of (like chicken legs often are), skin, gizzards, and juices not used for gravy – into a large stockpot (or use a crockpot, but you might add an hour to the simmer time). Add some onion and/or garlic along with pepper or other herbs such as thyme or rosemary. Some folks even add things like a couple chopped carrots. Pour water in so that everything is covered.
  2. Simmer on low for several hours.
  3. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. Strain it all so all the big stuff is kept out.
  4. Pour into containers or jars. Store in fridge for several weeks or in the freezer for several months.
Making broth is easy to do and requires no special pans or tools.
Making broth is easy to do and requires no special pans or tools.

Tip: You might be tempted to skim off the fat from the top, but it’s a good idea to leave it on during storage, especially in the fridge. The fat layer will help keep oxygen away from the broth, helping to keep the stock from going bad as soon.

Now, just use the stock as a base for soups, stews, gravy, or casseroles as you would bought broth.

So before you toss out the carcass of your next baked chicken or roast, toss it into a pot instead and get the most out of it. The chickens (and other critters) of the world thank you.

Photo by Phil Watson; courtesy of Morguefile.
Photo by Phil Watson; courtesy of Morguefile.
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