Frugal Tip Tuesday – make your own chicken stock

I have only made my own chicken stock once. Last week was the first time. It was super easy, why have I not done this before?! Whole roasting chickens were on sale last week, so I bought one to have for dinner along with some sweet potato fries (one of our favourites right now, we eat them weekly! YUM!) I used a Martha Stewart recipe, found here, for the stock. It was simple, and didn’t require a lot of attention (I managed to make it while chasing the little guy around and babysitting my 5-year-old niece) I didn’t use the 5 lbs of neck/back/wings like she suggests, I just used what was left of the chicken after having roasted it the night before. It was only a 3 lb bird to begin with, but there was still plenty ofย  flavour left on that little guy. The entire house smelled awesome while it was cooking, and all I had to do was occasionally go in and skim some of the foam/fat off, which wasn’t much since I was only using the bones (not much fat left on it). Here is my version of the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • remains of a 3 lb roasting chicken (roasted the night before)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 small carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 ts dried thyme
  • 12 whole black peppercorns

preparation:

Peel and cut onion into quarters; wash and cut carrots and celery into thirds. Place all ingredients into large stock pot and cover with cold water (I used about 12 cups). Bring to a boil over high heat. reduce heat, cover partially and simmer 3 hours. Remove and foam or fat that rise to the top my skimming with a ladle. Remove from heat, and let the stock sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Ladle through a fine strainer, and remove any additional fat from the stock. Refrigerate for a week, or freeze in 1 cup batches.

Not only was it cheaper to make than the cartons of chicken stock, it was healthier. I knew exactly what was in it, no mystery ingredients or preservatives! I than turned the stock into Mexican Tortilla Soup, recipe found here. My husband said this was the best soup he has ever had. The leftovers the next day; even better! I think I will try making this again with store-bought stock, I’m curious if it will make a difference. I couldn’t get any jalapenos, so I used 1/3 cup of hot salsa instead, which worked great. And if you think it’s too much work to toast the tortillas, it’s not. It only took a few minutes, and makes all the difference in the soup. Same goes for the cilantro, unless of course you don’t like it, the freshness brings out all the flavours in the soup. There is nothing like homemade soup on a chilly day, especially if it has a bit of a kick to it!

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