For the final installment of this series I will focus on the most recent big success in our kitchen. As the weather is becoming colder (we actually had a full day of flurries last Friday!) soup is being added to the menu planner. This calls for a lot of broth to be available. For some reason, I have never made my own...it just sounded too complicated. It turns out it is not! We were able to make a very large batch of our own chicken stock without much cost or time.
I generally followed the recipe in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Falon. First, start with a HUGE pot. You could halve this recipe and use a more normal sized pot, but I wanted a large yield (this made 8 quarts for us, see below for more info). I used my pot for boiling canned jars.
Start by filling your pot with 9 quarts water and 1/4 C vinegar. Now, take your two whole chickens (roaster or fryer) and cut off the breasts and store in frig or freezer (depending on when you plan to use them). No where are you going to find boneless, skinless chicken breasts for the price per pound of a whole chicken and you don't need that meat to make your stock. Now cut the chicken up into a few pieces. You don't need to be a fancy butcher here.
Time for the veggies. Add to pot: 2 coarsely chopped yellow onions, 4-5 carrots cut in thirds, and 6-7 celery ribs, cut in thirds.
Bring it to a boil. Simmer 18-24 hours. Ten minutes before finishing add 1-2 bunches of flat leaf parsley. Remove from heat and strain into containers. I used canning jars which I later covered in plastic wrap and banded. Cool and skim off fat. Freeze or refrigerate if you intend to use it soon.
A few notes:
1) I thought I was supposed to cover it while simmering. I am fairly certain I was wrong! If I had simmered it uncovered it probably would be a bit tastier, but I would have a smaller yield.
2) Save the shredded meat when you strain it for meals like enchiladas, salads, casseroles, etc. I saved the carrots to mash up into baby food.
3) I cooked my stock for nearly 24 hours. I will probably aim for 18 next time as it was very difficult saving the meat because the bones were wanting to crumble everywhere. Hopefully with a little less cooking time the bones will stay a bit sturdier and I can save more meat.
We will definitely be doing this again. It made a lot of meals for us and cost under $15 even with us buying all natural, hormone free, veggie fed chickens...I figured if I was going to go this route I would do it wholesomely.
Happy soup making!