Want to save money? Buy a whole chicken and cut it up into parts, and make chicken stock. It’s easy. Melissa Clark, New York Times, shows you how to cut up a chicken. When you are done you will have all the good bits at a fraction of the cost, and the backbone. This is where the fun starts. Even the backbone is useful. Put it in a gallon ziplock bag and pop it into the freezer. The next time you cut up a chicken, add the backbone to the bag. When you have 3 or four, it gets really interesting.
Make Chicken Stock on the Cheap
To make chicken stock toss the frozen backbones into a stock pot with water to within a few inches of the top. Add a chopped onion, a couple chopped carrots, the tops of the celery in the fridge, chopped, you know, the part you normally trim off and throw away, plus some salt, and pepper corns. If you want to really go cheap, and you have access to a Farmer’s Market, ask the vegetable vendors to give you some reject veggies at the end of the day. They would much rather do this than take it all back to the farm, for compost. Let it simmer for most of a day, simmer not boil, as in it’s barely bubbling, and you will make chicken stock.
- Pull out the big pieces with a slotted spoon and strain the stock through some cheese cloth
- Bring the strained stock back to a simmer
- While this is happening heat pint jars on a water bath
- Ladle the strained stock into the hot jars, leaving a half inch or so of head room
- Wipe the rims with a damp bit of paper towel,
- Add the lids and screw on the bands finger tight
- To preserve the chicken stock, process the jars in a pressure cooker, 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts, at ten pounds pressure. (Add 1 minute for every thousand feet of elevation.)
- Once the time is up, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to fall naturally
- When the pressure has released, open the pressure cooker carefully, try to direct the steam away from you, and move the hot jars of stock to a towel to cool
- You will hear popping, this is the vacuum seal pulling the lids down
- When the jars are cool to the touch remove the rims and test the seal. If any are lose then put these in the fridge for immediate consumption
That’s all there is to it. The best chicken stock you’ve ever tasted for a fraction of the cost of store bought. And what’s more important, you know exactly what’s in it.