There is nothing like the smell of home made chicken stock to give your house an edge in the comfy department. What I am about to show you I do at least twice a month.

This is super easy. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s not. Don’t be tricked into thinking this is some kind of time consuming activity that you you would never be able to do. It’s healthier. You control the flavor. And you’ll always have stock on hand never needing boullion or have half empty boxes of stock in your fridge ever again.

As soon as you get your chicken in the oven, go ahead and begin preparing the stock pot. It only takes about 7 or 8 minutes of your time.

Start here with the innards bag I told you about in my last blog.

This is basically just stuff you would never eat, but it does make some good stock. So just throw it in the pot and trust me. (have I ever let you down before?…well, except for that one time)

Next, and this is my favorite tip…

Skin an onion and stick it full of cloves. This is one of the best tricks in the book. There is something about the mingling of the two flavors this way, that just doesn’t happen when you just toss the cloves into the pot.

The following are some examples of a few other regular items you’ll find in my chicken stock.

Peppercorns and Bay Leaves. These are just plain black peppercorns, but Penzey’s has a variety of other kinds that I am interested to give a try sometime soon. The green one’s in particular are said to be a good pairing with poultry. Maybe Santa will put some in my stocking…..

A clove or two of garlic, whole, and peeled. Take the flat side of a knife and mash it till it cracks to just to let out a little extra flavor as it cooks.

Celery tops. Yep, those leafy parts of the celery you’ve been tossing out. Keep them the weeks you are going to make stock. You cannot have too much celery seasoning your stock. Also, carrots, with skins, and what ever “fresh” savory herbs you may have on hand. I usually use parsley, but this week I had sage left over from making french bread dressing for Thanksgiving. A word of wisdom though. If you use sage, go easy on it. It is VERY strong. You only need a couple or three leaves of it. Parsely on the other hand you really can’t over do.

Lastly, you need a little salt. I toss a small handful of coarse sea salt into my stock. The nice thing about this step is that YOU control the sodium. Some commercial stocks are just way too salty for my taste.

Now, just toss it all in the pot, put a lid on it, and wait for the chicken to get finished roasting. I usually just let it sit on top of the stove, so that it is handy right away.

Once your bird is done, let it cool a bit, and serve up what you need for dinner. Then, once you are done with dinner and clean up, just pull all the rest of the meat right off the bone and put it in a big bowl with a lid and save it in the fridge for two more meals I’m going to teach you how to make.

Then save your bones in the pot with all your stock seasonings and fill it with water to just above the carcass.

Then just bring it to a boil and let it boil for a good 20 to 25 minutes and then turn it down to a low simmer. for at least an hour two if you can be around that long. Then I just turn the pot off and let it cool completely.

Once it is totally cool. (I mean totally or you will have a mess in your freezer. I speak from personal experience) Then you can strain and bag it. I use a small strainer over a quart measuring cup.

I find that it freezes nicely, measured out by two cups and stored in pint sized bags. This is an area where I would strongly suggest that you do not skimp on brand names. Store brand freezer bags are a waste of money if you are freezing a liquid. The seal just does not hold. Again. I speak from experience. No one wants to clean a sheet of frozen chicken stock off of every single thing that was below it in the freezer.

This week though I’ll be saving my stock in the fridge for a day or two since I’ll be using it for the 4th blog in this series.

And THAT. is how you make incredible stock and smell up your house in a good way.

And on a side note, you can do this with more than just chicken bones. As I type this very moment I have a pot of ham stock cooling on the stone from the ham bone left over from our family get together in Macon. It’s a great time of year to stock up on ham stock to use on black eyed peas, various greens, and lima beans. Pretty much, you can use this method to make any kind of stock. Even shrimp shells to make seafood stock if you like shrimp bisque for instance.

OH! I nearly forgot the most important thing. The pictures aren’t great, but there is one very important step to making the stock.

Be sure to remove the Wish Bone!!!

This is two kids competing for a wish. I was unable to capture the true excitement of the moment.

But I managed to get a quick pick of the winner!

Next up…Part one of what to do with that chicken you put in the fridge.

Chicken Enchiladas!

Stay tuned…