Where do you find all that chicken stock?

5,422
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Joined Sep 5, 2008
I have a problem. I never have enough homemade chicken stock, and I really can't stand the stuff they sell in bricks or cans at the supermarket. How do you guys do it?

Many, many of the dishes I make would require a quart of chicken stock or more. Even if I was making 2 quarts of chicken stock every sunday (which would mean all I'm doing is staying home and cooking every sunday), some weeks that wouldn't be enough!

My solution so far has been to use water instead of chicken stock (I really don't like the commercial chicken stock at all - I'd rather use tap water). It's really ok, I don't mind it - i.e. yesterday I sauteed some bacon, sweated some onions, added diced carrots and celery, then lentils and water. I've made that same dish with chicken stock instead of water before, and it does add one more layer of flavor and mouth feel. But I just don't have enough stock in my freezer and want to keep the little I have left for a risotto (which I really can't make with water).

So do you guys just sit there every sunday and make gallons of chicken stock every week? Do you buy the commercial stuff? Do you use water?
 
3,853
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Joined May 26, 2001
I don't find it that much harder to make a big pot of stock than a little one. Takes more chicken and vegetables, yeah, but once everything is in the pot it's about the same effort. Still just a few hours cooking, maybe a little more skimming while it's cooking. But then once it's done, I'll ladle it through a strainer directly into 1-quart or 1-pint storage containers. It cools faster that way, and it's ready to go into the freezer.

It's just about the only time I'll use supermarket chicken, and especially when they have big "family packs" on special. Since the meat isn't worth eating when the stock is done anyway, I don't feel like I'm throwing away $$$ as I would if I used better chicken. Oh, and if they have packages of chicken feet, that's great!! They add real body to the stock. (Although I don't eat them, as I used to when I was a toddler. :lol:)
 
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Joined Sep 5, 2008
I think my stockpot is 12 quarts but at the end of the process I must be left with about 2 or 3 quarts - I'm not entirely sure to be honest. But something like that.
 
163
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Joined Nov 1, 2009
Yep, The traditional method is to use a whole chicken. I use a variation, that uses the leg quarters. I think you get more flavor bang for the buck using the log bones. Lots of that all important marrow in the long bones.
 
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Joined Aug 18, 2007
Every time i buy a chicken i freeze the leftover carcass. It doesnt have to take much freezer space. You can bash it to a clump if ur short of space... When you have 3, or 4. Boil them up for an hour or so with some leeks, carrots and onions. Peppercorns and whatever else you like and thats it... Great stock.

My favourite way of doing chicken thighs is in the oven. Simply, with lots of Kikkomans soy sauce and garlic. You'll get a fair bit of liquour Once you remove the chicken from the pan, pour it into a tub and freeze. You'll get great fat on the top for roast potatoes and the jelly underneath is a fabulous addition to any stock
 
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Joined Jul 24, 2009
i'm not a fan of the stock in a box either, but two products that i don't mind since making stock is a hassle, especially finding storage space for it in my case.

One is bovril by knorr, it is a liquid bouillon. I havent found this too many places since moving to Michigan from Ontario but its around. If you are in Ontario, every grocery store carries it as well as a store brand equivalent.

The other is Minors Chicken base, it is a stock paste. I have found this at GFS in the dairy section. I used to use it at a restaurant i worked at. We used to improve stocks we made or in tiny doses in sauces etc. It is a great product. And they have a ridiculous number of flavours besides chicken. I know its not as good as real stock, but it is a reasonable substitute. Plus if you freeze it, it lasts quite some time.

Any way just a thought.
 
6,367
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
Do I understand this correctly? From a 12-quart stock pot you're only winding up with 2-3 quarts of stock?

I'd suggest that you're either not using enough chicken parts or boiling it down too far, or both.

My last batch, in a 20-quart stock pot, yielded 10 1/2 quarts or fairly rich stock. True, I started with a larger pot that you, but look at the proportionate differences: I get more than half the capacity from mine, you're getting only about a fourth.

I have two "sources" of bones etc. First off, when breaking down chickens there are the wing tips, backs, etc. Even when we make a whole bird it is often butterflied, which leaves me the back and wing tips. Naturally, the necks and so forth also go into the stock pot. All that goes in the freezer, until I've emassed enough. The second source: I watch the sales, and buy chickens three-up. These usually are larger birds, averaging, I'd say, five pounds.

Depending on my needs, all or part of these birds go into the stock pot. If they do, I usually salvage the poached meat and use it for other dishes.

FWIW, I've taken, recently, to canning the stock instead of freezing it, as it frees up a lot of space in the freezer.
 
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Joined Mar 21, 2008
I ask the meat guy at the local market to save the necks/backs etc for me. When he has 5-6 pounds I get a phone call :roll:
 
438
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Joined Sep 29, 2009
My butcher would give me spines, necks, tails, feet, and wing ends by the bushel basket if I needed that many. Just ask, they'll hang on to it for you and sell it to you cheap, as they were probably going to throw it out anyway.
 
5,422
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Joined Sep 5, 2008
You did, I just made a big mistake: just had a look at my pot, it's actually 6 liters - so 6 quarts. Which explains why I'm only getting a bit less than 3 quarts.

Pardon my ignorance - what is a "chicken three-up"? I've never heard of that expression before (english is not my first language).

Interesting. Space in the freezer isn't an issue here, I hate to freeze just about anything but ice cream! OK and chicken stock. But if it ever becomes an issue, I'll remember that tip!:thumb:
 
5,422
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Joined Sep 5, 2008
Mary and ChefRay, this is really good to know. I never asked. Are we talking from a butchery shop? Or the butcher department of a supermarket?
 
5,422
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Joined Sep 5, 2008
No - MY mistake: it IS for general home use. And my pot is actually only 6 Qt right now. Still I think I should buy a 12 or 20 Qt pot an make more at once.

Thanks guys for all the feedback!
 
6,367
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Joined Feb 1, 2007
Pardon my ignorance - what is a "chicken three-up"?

Sorry. Just means I buy them three at a time when they're on sale.

You did, I just made a big mistake: just had a look at my pot, it's actually 6 liters - so 6 quarts. Which explains why I'm only getting a bit less than 3 quarts.

Ahhhh. So your proportion is in line. Only solution, if you need stock in the quantities you indicate, is to get a larger stock pot. As Suzanne noted, it's only incrementally more work to make a big pot as a little one, cuz the cooking time is the same, and there's only a few minutes more prep work.

If you have the room for it, I'd recommend something in the 16 quart range. Assuming 2-quarts a week used to cook with, each batch would last you a month.

But if it ever becomes an issue, I'll remember that tip!

Just remember that for stock you need a pressure canner, not a boiling water bath.
 
438
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Joined Sep 29, 2009
Try to find a real butcher shop. The supermarkets "butchers" usually just open big bags of factory butchered meat and put it in the foam trays. Whole food markets and organic stores, however, often do their own butchering if there isn't a stand alone butcher shop in your area.
 

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