It was pretty disappointing to lose one of the laying hens, but I didn’t want her death to be a total waste, so I was determined to learn to make my own chicken stock from her. Laying hens are very lean and don’t have much meat on them, so they aren’t ideal for meat, but you can certainly boil it down to make a soup, broth, or stock. Since I’ve found myself using a lot of recipes that call for chicken stock lately, I thought I’d make that and freeze it in batches.
Now, ingredients wise I can help you out for making your own stock, but measurements wise, it’s kind of a guessing game and up to your personal tastes. A lot depends on how big your bird is and therefore how much water you use.
What you will need is:
- a big pot
- a slotted spoon
- a small holed strainer
- cheese cloth (dollar store)
- bay leaf
You can do basil instead of parsley if you want, or add more veggies for more flavour. If you were making soup, I’d do a lot more veggies and seasonings, but for stock you want a light flavour, as it’s just being added in to other recipes.
Fill your big pot with enough water to entirely cover your chicken.
Add in your ingredients. You can see the size of my chicken and the size of my pot in comparison to an average sized cat. I added in one large onion roughly chopped (don’t worry about peeling it), one bay leaf, a 1/4 cup of parsley, and a big sprinkle of salt.
Now you’re going to boil this sucker ALL day. For like, 4-6 hours at least. The longer you boil it, the more nutrients will seep from the bones, the more flavourful and healthy your stock will turn out. I got mine up to a boil by 9am and let it simmer all day, taking off around dinnertime.
You may need to add more water as you go. Keep it so your chicken is fully covered.
After it’s all boiled, you’ll want to lose your slotted spoon and fish out all the “stuff”. You can pull out all the pieces of cooked meat and save them in a baggy and stick them in the freezer for later meals. Pull the bones and main carcass out and just discard it. Same with the vegetables.
Now you’re just going to strain the stock through the strainer and the cheese cloth.
Pour your stock through the cheese cloth strainer. I had to discard my cheese cloth full of junk and replace new a few times during the process.
And then you’re done! I got a LOT more stock out of this one bird than I’d expected.
I figured these containers were about 2 cups each, and I got 14 (14!) containers! I’ll have lots of stock for a long time now, which is amazing. It was really easy to make, just takes the commitment of being home all day to keep an eye on it, and then you have delicious, healthy, homemade chicken stock to use in all your future cooking endeavours!