Transforming leftover chicken bones from a whole chicken , that leftover rotisserie chicken carcass or the post-Thanksgiving turkey remains into a homemade chicken stock is so easy and the flavor will take your favorite dishes to a whole new level.
Chicken broth is a classic kitchen staple that is found in countless recipes. It's the flavorful foundation for soup recipes that warm the soul, the secret weapon in risottos that boast a creamy decadence, or the liquid gold that transforms ordinary sauces, stews, braises and gravies into something delicious.
The flavor of homemade chicken stock is rich and delicious and one of the coolest things is that you can use leftover chicken bones and carcasses. It's like giving them a second life, and in return, they gift you this rich, flavorful broth that's the base for so many amazing dishes. Even that leftover rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or that turkey carcass after Thanksgiving are treasures waiting to be transformed!
The best part is that you get to control the ingredients in this hoemmade chicken stock recipe. No mysterious additives or weird preservatives – just good, honest ingredients that you handpicked yourself. Whether you add leftover vegetables, stems of fresh herbs, salt or no salt, the chicken bones will turn water into a rotisserie chicken stock that's tailor-made for your taste buds
- Rotisserie Chicken Carcass – You can also use leftover chicken bones, a homemade roast chicken carcass or use your leftover Thanksgiving turkey for an incredible turkey broth.
- Cold Water - Start with a pot of cold water so the chicken and veggies need to cook a little longer.
- Celery Stalks – This is a great use for the celery that has turned limp.
- Carrots – Cut them in half.
- Whole Peppercorns – Whole peppercorns provide flavor and are easy to remove after cooking so you don't get a spicy bite. You can use ground pepper if preferred.
- Bay Leaves – Bay adds a nice aroma and flavor.
- Fresh Herbs – Use a handful of fresh herbs like parsley, basil or cilantro. Thyme, rosemary and sage are also delicious options.
See recipe card for quantities.
Combine the leftover bones, vegetables and herbs in a large stockpot.
Fill the pot with cold water and cook on high heat until liquid comes to a boil.
Turn heat to low and simmer for 2 hours or until the liquid has reduced by about half.
Remove the large pieces of chicken, vegetables and herbs with tongs or a large slotted spoon. Strain the remaining liquid so that you have a smooth stock.
Hint: The leftover chicken meat and the cooked veggies can be used for soup or another recipe.
- Use - Rotisserie chicken carcasses are easy to use but you can use any cooked chicken carcass or even your leftover turkey. You can also use leftover chicken bones or wing tips from other recipes as well.
- Add Salt - Making unsalted leftover turkey stock helps you to control the saltiness in future dishes. Adding salt makes a flavorful broth that can be sipped and savored.
- Add Garlic - Adding a few garlic cloves can really boost the flavor of the chicken broth.
When crafting your own homemade chicken broth, a few kitchen essentials will be your trusty companions. First and foremost, a substantial stock pot or a reliable Dutch oven is a non-negotiable. You need a large pot with ample space to hold the carcass, veggies and water without fear of overflowing.
A slotted spoon is perfect for skimming off any foam and removing larger pieces of chicken and vegetables while a fine mesh strainer effortlessly removes smaller bits of chicken and veggies, leaving you with a pristine, clear chicken broth or turkey broth.
Storing homemade chicken stock properly ensures you have a flavorful base ready for all of your favorite recipes. Once your stock has cooled to room temperature you can store it in the fridge, freezer or proceed with a canning process.
Store the broth in mason jars, heavy duty air-tight plastic containers or in freezer-safe storage bags using one of these methods.
- Refrigeration: If you plan to use the stock within a week, store it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, for longer-term storage, freeze it.
- Freezing: Lay the containers flat in the freezer until the stock solidifies. Once frozen, you can stack the containers to save space and store for up to 6 months. When ready to use, thaw the stock in the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost function on your microwave.
- Canning: Meat-stocks are low in acid and should only be canned using a pressure canner. Process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes following the manufacturer instructions for your pressure canner.
- The foundation of a great chicken stock is quality ingredients. Use a mix of chicken parts with bones, like wings, backs, and necks. Including some meat on the bones adds richness.
- You can freeze several rotisserie chicken carcasses and make one large batch of stock rather than several small batches.
- For a deeper flavor profile, consider roasting your chicken parts in the oven before making the stock. This adds a layer of richness and complexity to the final product.
- Enhance the flavor by adding aromatic vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery. Don't forget garlic and a bay leaf for added depth.
- Avoid overwhelming the stock with too many herbs or spices. Let the natural flavors shine.
- The secret to a good stock is a gentle simmer. Avoid a rolling boil, as this can make the stock cloudy. Low and slow allows the flavors to meld while maintaining clarity.
- Skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface during the simmering process. This helps achieve a clearer, cleaner stock.
- A squeeze of lemon juice or a splash of vinegar can brighten the flavors, but be cautious not to overpower the stock. Add acid in small increments and taste as you go.
- After simmering, strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove solids. This step is crucial for achieving a clear and smooth liquid.
How to Use Homemade Chicken Broth
Homemade chicken stock is a versatile kitchen staple that can enhance the flavor of a wide variety of dishes. Here are some creative and delicious ways to use your homemade chicken stock:
- Soups and Stews: The classic use of chicken stock is as a base for soups and stews. Whether it's a comforting chicken noodle soup, a hearty vegetable stew, or a robust minestrone, your homemade stock will infuse the dish with rich flavor. Southwest Chicken Tortilla Soup and Hearty Chicken Vegetable Soup are a great place to start.
- Risotto: Elevate your risotto by using homemade chicken stock instead of water or store-bought broth. The result is a creamy and flavorful dish that's a true crowd-pleaser. Butternut Squash and Mushroom Risotto is one of my favorites.
- Gravies and Sauces: Make velvety smooth gravies and sauces by incorporating chicken stock. It adds depth and complexity to pan sauces, gravies for roasted meats, and even pasta sauces.
- Braising and Slow Cooking: Use chicken stock as the liquid for braising meats or vegetables or in slow cooker recipes. It imparts a savory richness to dishes like pot roasts, pulled chicken, or braised short ribs, and tender collard greens.
- Cooking Grains and Lentils: Instead of using water, cook lentils, rice, quinoa, couscous, or other grains in chicken stock. This simple swap adds a layer of flavor to the grains, making them a more interesting side dish.
- Mashed Potatoes: When making mashed potatoes, use chicken stock instead of milk for a savory twist. The subtle chicken flavor complements the creaminess of the potatoes.
- Poaching: Poach chicken, fish, or vegetables in chicken stock for a flavorful and moist result. This method imparts a gentle, savory taste to the ingredients.
- Sipping Broth: Heat up a cup of warm chicken stock with a dash of salt and pepper for a soothing and nourishing beverage. It's a simple, low-calorie option for a light snack or to warm up on a chilly day.
- Freeze in Ice Cube Trays: Freeze small portions of chicken stock in ice cube trays. Pop them out and use them as flavor bombs in sauces, stir-fries, or to deglaze a pan.
- Marinades and Brines: Use chicken stock as a base for marinades or brines, infusing meats with flavor before grilling, roasting, or smoking.
Broth Versus Stock
The terms broth and stock are often used interchangeably and they are essentially the same thing. Broth is sometimes just made with meat and vegetables while stock is made using the bones and cooked longer. The main difference is found in the cooking times and broth is highly seasoned while stock isn't as it will be seasoned when added to soups and stews.
Chicken wings, backs, necks, and even leftover carcasses from roasted or rotisserie chickens are excellent choices. The bones contribute to the richness and flavor of the stock. You can also use turkey bones and turkey carcasses.
Both slow cookers, Instant Pots and a pressure cooker are great for making chicken stock. The process may be faster in an Instant Pot, but the slow simmer in a traditional pot can extract more flavors.
While you can use raw chicken, using a combination of raw and cooked (roasted or seared) chicken parts enhances the depth of flavor in the stock.
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Homemade Rotisserie Chicken Stock
- 1 Rotisserie Chicken Carcass
- 8 cups Water
- 3 Celery Stalks
- 3 large Carrots halved
- 2 tablespoons Whole Peppercorns
- 3 Bay Leaves
- 1 handful fresh herbs like parsley, basil or cilantro
- Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Turn heat to high and bring liquid to boil.
- Let simmer for 2 hours or until about half of the liquid evaporates.
- Remove the large pieces of chicken, vegetables and herbs with tongs or a large slotted spoon. Strain the remaining liquid so that you have a smooth stock leftover. The chciken and veggies can be used for soup or another recipe.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also use it immediately, if desired. Enjoy!
- After stock cools down or is chilled, removed any larger spoons of grease that will rise to the top.
- If desired, halfway through the cooking time, you can crush the ingredients like the carrots and celery to get more flavor for your stock. You can also reserve the veggies and chicken to make soup or use for something else.
- You can add salt and pepper and other seasonings like onion powder, garlic powder or dried herbs if you prefer.
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