Tonight my husband made a roast chicken for dinner. I love when he does that because then I get to make Homemade Chicken Stock. If you've never made stock before you've really been missing out. I can't stress enough the difference between homemade stock and the flavored water that Swanson's claims is Chicken Stock. The depth of flavo that your homemade stock will give your soups as well as anything else that calls for stock will make you never want to go back to the canned, or GOD FORBID, those salty neon yellow cubes again.
Don't worry! It's easy.
1) Take one chicken carcass. I wait until it cools, cut off all of the usable chicken off and put it in a pot. Leave a little meat on for flavor (I'm talking a little here, nothing big enough to use for chicken salad (which is what I will assume you will do with your leftovers)
2) Cover with water. I like to use a large pot
3) Add any stray veggies you have. This is a great time to use up that 1/2 onion that has been in your fridge for a week. Wilted celery-throw it in there. (In fact in the winter months when I make stock I actually have a bag in the freezer that I use to store veggies on their last legs until stock time) Some veggies you may want to include-Carrots, garlic, onions, celery, herbs, I stay away from stuff like broccoli or spinach unless I am making a vegetable stock. A lot of times my husband will stuff the bird's cavity with herbs, a lemon, onions-When I cut the meat off I just leave it all in there.
4) Throw in some salt and pepper. Got a bay leaf or 2, add em'.
5) Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Simmer A LONG TIME. How long??? An hour or 2. I like to reduce the liquid at least by half but think it makes a better stock if you reduce it to 1/4. (albeit it, less stock)
6) After it is reduced, strain it and throw away your solids. Put in a bowl and let cool a little. Place in fridge overnight. In the morning you should have a nice yellow layer of fat cooled on the top. Skim that off and discard. Not your stock is pretty low fat. If it appears jelly-like that is EVEN BETTER! That is a good stock! (I think there is even a name for it) Some people buy inexpensive chicken parts like wings just to make stock but I'm opposed to that. The real thrill for me is making something out of nothing that saves me money and makes my food even better.
Store in usable size containers in your freezer and grab whenever you need some stock. You won't be sorry.