A huge benefit of making a whole chicken is being able to use the entire chicken for various recipes as upgraded left-overs that same week. I removed as much of the chicken meat from the carcass and reserved it for another recipe (blog to follow). I was left with the carcass and the vegetables & apple that I cooked the chicken with and decided all of those components would make for a delicious home-made chicken stock. I am a huge advocate of home-made stock as it has a lot less sodium & additives and I really think that it cooks a lot better in recipes than store-bought and it makes a great somewhat thicker base for soups & stews.
Making your own stock is SO much easier than one would think. I used my big stockpot but you could also use a slow-cooker. I took the carcass & left over pieces, the vegetables that I cooked the chicken with, fresh thyme & rosemary, some lemon juice, carrots, celery, and whole peeled garlic cloves and put all of that into the pot. I seasoned it with some salt and pepper.
I covered all of it with as much as water as my pot would hold; about 14 cups of cold water. Bring it to a boil. Let it boil for about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer. I suggest simmering for at least 3 hours and have found that the longer it simmers the better.
Once the stock is done simmering, pour it into 2 large containers and refrigerate them for an hour. The stock & the fat will separate at this point; skim the fat off of the top. Divide up the stock however you feel best. I did a few zip-lock bags with 1cup of stock in it for those smaller recipes and 4 Tupperware containers each with 3 cups in it. I labeled the containers and the bags with the date so that I don’t keep them too long and use the older sooner. Then into the freezer they went!
When it comes time to using your frozen stock there are a couple of methods to using it; let it thaw while sitting out (takes a while), defrost it in the microwave, or just throw it into a pot over the stove and let it melt that way. I have used all methods and I prefer the first & last methods.
TIP OF THE DAY: Tupperware from the Dollar Store is AWESOME. Even if you just use it once for freezing your stock you totally feel like you got your moneys worth out of it and won’t feel bad if you have to dispose of it afterwards.