Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Chicken in Every Pot ala My Bizzy Kitchen

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This post could be a $100 Christmas gift to you...
Just yesterday, one of my favorite bloggers had a small paragraph in her daily post...

 I picked off all the meat, I threw the skin and bones into the chicken broth and let it simmer for 45 minutes before straining it – holy cow was this broth flavorful!  The best part was that Tony loved it!
Funny thing happened to me at the store yesterday.  I was walking by the deli department and they actually had a sale on rotisserie chicken.  Only $4.99 for an already cooked, fully seasoned chicken.  I snapped up 2!  Then, on the end cap of the very next aisle, I saw chicken stock on sale for $4.99 a quart.  Really???  Ponder that for a moment.  A fully cooked seasoned chicken is the same price as the stock you make from the bones??? Really???  I could get all philosophical on you, but really, what is wrong with this country?  No wonder houses are being foreclosed on.  Be cheap, be a cook, make your own stock and get a FREE chicken.

FALL SOUP SEASON is COMING HERE!!!  This time of year, I make about a soup a week.  Tomato soup to a crab Bisque, I simply love a good soup (great excuse to pair with a new bread also... but I digress).  Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years is coming fast, and the freezing temps of January and February are not far behind. 5 months, 20 weeks, 20 weeks you need Chicken Broth for your soups and you have saved over $100.  Now honestly, can you afford to throw away $100?

It's just habit for me now, I make stock every week.  Between gravies, soups, rice (really, make your rice in chicken stock in place of water for deeper flavors) and what ever I think of, it always needs to be replaced.  And, since we are empty nesters, we always seem to have vegetables left over that are close to going bad.  Much better to make a stock than to toss in the garbage.  be cheap, be a cook and be a good steward of the Earth.

Now, if I ran a restaurant, or was attending a prestigious cooking school, consistency would be very important.  The exact same volume and variety of vegetables and bones would be used every day.  the stock would be the same every day.  Mine isn't.  I use what I have...


Are in the stock I am showing.  Next week, I will have some Asparagus and Artichokes.  Just go through your veggie drawer and see what you have.  Do a rough cut, they are there for flavoring, and will be strained out in the end.

As to the seasonings, I cook the stock with the bird, skin and all.  Already seasoned.  You want the stock flavorful, but you want to be able to add seasoning to whatever you are putting the stock into.  So, just the seasoning on the chicken is plenty, no more.  And certainly no additional salt.  It's easy to add salt to your dishes as they cook, if you start with a salty broth or stock, you run the risk of a too salty dish.

Because I cook with so much of the fatty parts.

The fat does rise to the top.

 I skim every few hours so the stock is not full of fat.

OK, the technique is painfully simple...

Fill a big pot with water.
Drop in the bird carcass
Add the veggies
Get the water simmering (simmering only, not a rapid boil)
Cover and check every few hours

The Stock is done when the bones break easily (the connective tissues have all rendered out).  Takes about 8-10 hours.

Before Rachael Ray and even before Alton Brown... But after Julia Child... And somewhere around the time of Graham Kerr (But I am digressing with the foodie timeline), there was JEFF SMITH... THE Frugal Gourmet.

His catch phrase, "Frugal doesn't mean cheap. Frugal means that you don't waste anything." is becoming a way of life for me.  I loved my time on the Virgin Isles, but it was not cheap.  So, frugal to eat  better became my new catch phrase. I don't mind paying for a premium ingredient, but I will use it all.  And by stretching the food I do buy, I can fit more in my food budget.

This day, I made 4 quarts of stock.  I put them in freezer bags, marked the date.  3 went in the freezer, one in the fridge.  All from the carcass of one bird and leftover veggies.  

The equivalent cost of 4 FREE chickens.

Be a Cook
Be Cheap
Get a free chicken (or 4)

And what do you have planned for your FREE $100???

***  ***  ***  ***  ***  ***  ***

But the key to saving $100 or MUCH more over the course of a year, is to make it a habit.  If the price is the same, buy bone in chicken pieces.  Once the bones have been removed (by fork, knife or teeth), save em.  Are you making chicken wings, save em.  These pieces are great to use to make chicken broth (like Biz did above).  Perfect for adding great flavor to a rice dish.  If you love your Rotisserie Chickens (like I do), save those bones.  You can even freeze em for when you are ready to make stock. 

The logical use for this stock is of course Soups, Stews and Chowders.  You really can not go far in soup making without learning to make stock.  So easy and yet so important to the flavor of your soup.

I even use this chicken stock whenever I make chili.  But that's a tale for another post.


So,  I am pleased to list this as one of my Growing list of  "52 Recipes for Soup, Chili or Chowder" (Now more than 52 and still growing)

Soup from Scratch is one of the great kitchen joys.  The house smells amazing and the soup warms to the bone.  From broth to chowder, vegetarian to loaded up chili... Even a great idea for a party (love the Potato Soup Bar idea).  Come take a look, sure to have something you might like to try.  All recipes have been tested and WORK!

So, I am pleased to add this as one of my growing list of "52 Uses For a Rotisserie Chicken"  (Now close to 100!)

MUCH more than a chicken sandwich.  From Scratch Pizza to Chinese Take Out recipes, Lots of Soups and Chili... Appetizers to Main Courses (Still can't find a dessert, but I am looking).  More than enough ideas for that store bought bird to shine with just a little extra work.  All recipes have been tested and WORK!


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  1. I have my own chooks.And as I resapect my animals I use very bit of them ..including the bones (head and feet for stock..which I also frezze(whats over) for later use in soups or sauces;)
    I will check out the sites you suggest:)

  2. I made chicken stock today also :) I am going to post the recipe later in the week on my blog. I mostly make it the same way, except I use bay leaves and wait to skim the fat until I let it sit in the fridge over night and skim the fat from the top. Homemade chicken stock is yummy!

  3. I always make my own stock, it is so much better than those little salt loaded cubes ~ great post Dave!

  4. This is a very handy recipe, thank you for sharing with Any One Can Cook :)

  5. How long can the chicken stock remain in the freezer before it needs to be thrower out?

  6. We have done this for years! I makes THE best stock.

  7. We have done this for years! I makes THE best stock.

  8. We have done this for years! I makes THE best stock.

  9. I love homemade chicken stock. I have a hard time using the store bought stuff now. Bone-in chicken pieces are usually about half the cost of boneless where I live but I don't feel that I'm just paying for the weight of the useless bones because they get used up too.

  10. Why have I never thought of this! I love homemade stock so much better and with the price of chicken going up this is the best way to sayve money :) thank you!!

  11. I do the same thing. Only I remove the air from the plastic bags so that I can lie down and stack them in the freezer , as I make enough broth for at lease 6-7 bags of 3-4 cups each.

  12. Can you do this in a crock pot?

  13. In response to kandonne smith, I do this in my crockpot all the time. It doesn't make quite as much stock as I only have a 4 or 5 quart crock pot (I can't remember right now). But I roast a chicken almost every week. I save the bones, trimmings, and add in whatever veggies will fit. I cover it with water and cook on low overnight. Strain it, put the broth in the fridge for at least a few hours, and then remove the fat from the top before freezing.

  14. A little trick for dog owners I learned a few years ago. After straining your stock toss the leftovers back in a pot cover with water and simmer again till the bones become mush. Feed some to your dog everyday it is wonderful for them and will help save on the dog food bill

  15. I am making stock for the first time, with the tips and tricks that you have posted. Mine has been on the stove for less than 2 hours and already tastes amazing! Thank you so much for posting your thoughts on cooking.

  16. Bake your chicken carcass before boiling. I throw mine in a very hot oven and bake it until its a very deep brown--almost burnt. It makes such a deeply flavored stock.

  17. Jeff was the first cook I followed and his was my first real cook book that I bought. I also love to use everything and not waste anything so I will be using your site a lot. Thanks for all the info.
    Odie in NC

  18. I too make stock from rotisserie chicken leftovers- if you broil the bones and skin etc. until browned, the stock will be much richer tasting and a nice dark golden color.