Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tutorial Tuesday: Chicken Stock

Tutorial Tuesday

Tutorial Tuesday's design is to visually share money saving food preparation techniques along with easy and inexpensive recipes. This week I am happy to share how I make my own chicken stock.

Each week at the grocery store I make sure to pass through the whole chicken display. Normally, a whole chicken sells for about $.89/pound. I always keep an eye out for whole chickens that are nearing their 'sell by' date, so I can receive a 40% discount.

I always stick my whole chickens in the freezer when I return home, since I am not fond of the "juice" (ahem, gook!) that is packaged with the chicken. *Normally, the 40% off chickens are available during the colder months, I rarely find the whole chickens deeply discounted in the summer.

I like to begin cooking my chicken just after I have cleaned up from dinner. I like to allow my chicken to cook all night long. I placed this frozen chicken in my crock pot and filled my crock pot completely with water. *My chicken was pretty big, so a little lump broke the surface of the water.

The following morning, after 12 hours of cooking on low, I turned my crock pot off. Several hours later, around lunch time, my chicken (and stock) was cooled enough to handle.

I carefully removed the chicken and placed it in a bowl so that I could take care of the chicken stock first. *Be careful, your chicken will literally fall off of the bone!

To prepare the chicken stock, I place a paper towel into a small strainer.

This paper towel strains little pieces of chicken that have fallen from the chicken, and it actually keeps the fat (that has melted from the chicken while cooking) from draining through into the chicken stock.

Home made chicken stock is MUCH more flavorful than its canned counterpart. One cup of 'home brew' is the equivalent to one can of chicken stock. My favorite part of the home made variety is that I am in control of the salt that I add to my stock. Canned chicken stock is very salty!

I'm always impressed at how well my paper towels strain. I change my paper towels often, I may use 5-6 paper towels per crock pot of stock!

I prefer to package my stock in 2 cup containers, basically the equivalent of 2 cans.

My $2.54 chicken yielded the equivalent of TWELVE cans of chicken stock and 5-6 cups of shredded chicken. All of my 20-25-ish minutes of time spent with my whole chicken was well worth it!!!

12 cans of chicken stock would cost at least $12 at the grocery store, but my 'home brew' is a FREE byproduct to cooking my chicken
. And shredded chicken can easily make, chicken noodle soup, fajitas, chicken taco's, chicken salad, chicken pot pie... or my favorite, chicken Alfredo lasagna!

Personal Notes:
1. I prefer to store my stock in plastic containers since I had a Ziploc bag fail while thawing stock in my refrigerator.
2. I label my reusable plastic containers with blue painter's tape, so I can easily peel the label when I've used the frozen contents.
3. Chicken stock can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days before using, but be aware that it will have the consistency of Jello.



Great tutorial! I just made a chicken vegetable soup tonight for dinner...with canned stock...I'm totally trying this next time :)


That is way easier than the way I learned to make stock! I'll have to keep my eyes open for a good bird and give it a shot. Thanks!

Laura Webber

Thanks for your kind words ladies... today was my first Tutorial Tuesday! I'm looking forward to this new series!!!


Do you add any aromatics or seasonings? I've never made stock because I thought you needed celery and carrots and herbs and stuff!

Laura Webber

My preference is not too since I have no specific recipe in mind for my stock. You could add other ingredients to enhance, but I choose not to!


I love to borrow this tid-bit! It helps so much! Pretty no fuss or muss! Thanks for sharing!!

Krista D.

Awesome tutorial! I just have one quick question. So, you put your chicken in the crock pot still frozen? How do you get the bag of gibblets out? Did you cook it in the crock pot with them still in the cavity? Thanks again - I'm excited to try this out!

Laura Webber

Yep, I just cook everything- but the chickens that I purchase (notice the packaging in the first picture) state the the giblets are most likely missing. Fine with me!!!


This is probably a dumb question, but what is the difference between broth and stock? I've never made my own stock, but if I can find a deal on whole chickens, I'm definitely going to try it. Love the new series, Laura! :-)

Laura Webber

Glad you have enjoyed the first Tutorial Tuesday! I believe that the only difference between stock and broth is the spelling!!! ;)
I'm pretty sure that they are the same thing!!!


I have definitely been catching up on all the lessons I didn't care to learn from my mom before I got married! Whoops! I look forward to more tutorials. What size crockpot did you use?

Laura Webber

5-6 quart.

That's funny, I grew up watching my Mom (sitting on the counter) and I still have quite bit to learn!!!


This is great! My question is how do you separate the meat from the grisle, small bones and other gunk. I always end up with my hands in the mess, groping through the cooked meat to sort out the grisle and bones. Any tips to avoid this would be greatly appreciated!


Here's Alton Brown's take on broth vs stock from show transcript:

Let's start with the word 'stock'. Now in its popular usage, it's often used interchangeably with the word 'broth'. But the truth is, to make a stock, technically at least, you only need two ingredients: water and of course bones. Sure, you can add seasonings, vegetables, whatever you like, but in the end it comes down to water and bones. Now, the word 'stock', in fact, refers to the trunk of tree without any branches or leaves attached. And it's a pretty fair culinary analogy, because once these bones have ... well, not these [human] bones, but you get the point ... once the bones and joints have given up their connective tissue to the, uh, water over there, you're left with a liquid that's got a lot of body, a kind of unctuous mouth-feel but not a whole lot of flavor. That's why most classic sauces have stocks at their base, but you would never order up a bowl of stock as an appetizer. At least I know I wouldn't.

Then comes the word 'broth'. Now broth is medieval-speak for 'brew' and that's exactly what it is. It's basically water that's had meat and or vegetables cooked or brewed in it. Now if you filter out these bits and pieces you've got broth. If you leave them in you've got soup. But of course, even the best broths always have at least a little [human skeleton passes by] just for body.

Jen Holt

Thanks so much, I loved this and look forward to more!
One Question: You said that one cup of homemade stock is equal to one can of store bought. Does that mean you add water to yours before you froze it or do you mix with water when you use it? Or just use as is?

I guess what I am asking is if a recipe calls for 1 can (say 15oz) then do you use 15oz of your stock or only 1 cup?

HAHA, what a long questions.... Thanks again.

Laura Webber

When I remove the meat from the bones, I am always thrilled that the meat basically falls off of the bones for me. I pick the white meat apart for future meals, and I allow my husband to pick at the dark meat for a few days before we toss the rest of the chicken.

And when a recipe calls for a can of chicken stock (12oz) I add my one cup (8oz) of chicken stock plus 1/2 cup of water. "Homebrew" is very flavorful!

And thanks for the lesson in stock vs. brew... I LOVED it!!!


I'm new to your blog (as of today), I LOVE your Tutorial Tuesday posts!!! I saved this link in my favorites.
Thanks for sharing!


My half-price chicken is going in the crock pot tonight, and I'm making your chicken chili on Wednesday! :-) Thanks so much.

Becky & Co.


I didn't find a good deal on whole chickens, but I did find split chicken breast at rock bottom price. I used your method and was pleased with the results!


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