Making your own chicken stock or broth is the epitome of thriftiness, but have you ever used frozen chicken carcasses to make it?
Brewing up a big pot of stock is one of my favourite weekend activities and I’ve made it every old which way – vegetable or herb stock, beef or chicken bones. Lately I’ve been taking advantage of the close proximity of my work to two local butchers and have been buying several chicken carcasses at once for $1/kilo and freezing them in pairs for stock making.
The benefits of my frugal purchase are twofold – chicken carcasses will keep well in the freezer for up to three months until you need them, plus they don’t need to be thawed before use. That’s right, just throw the whole frozen lump of chicken into the stock pot and then add your vegetables and aromatics to get going!
Your chicken carcasses will thaw quickly in the hot water (meaning there’s no need to thaw them overnight in the fridge first), though it’s important to keep in mind that they won’t have the same depth of flavour of already cooked/roasted bones. To help more nutrients to leech from the bones (and therefore to improve the flavour) I like to add a generous amount of apple cider vineger to remove calcium from the bones and help the stock to gelatinise a little.
My final trick is that I often skip the skimming stage of stock making (though please feel free to scoop away those impurities as they come to the surface if you choose to). Instead I often wait until the refrigeration stage to let the stock separate it’s fat layer from the stock as it forms on the surface of the liquid, also making sure to leave the last dregs of stock in the pot when straining to avoid any nasties.
All that’s left then is to let your stock simmer on the stove for 4 hours or so, giving you lots of hands-off cooking time while you wait for this stock to transform into a full-bodied ingredient for your soups and stews! Are we ready to make chicken stock with frozen carcasses now?
- 2 frozen chicken carcassses
- 2 large brown onions, quartered
- 3-4 large carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 celery ribs with leaves, roughly chopped
- 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise or roughly chopped
- Few sprigs each of rosemary, thyme and oregano
- 3 fresh or dried bay leaves
- ¼ tsp whole black peppercorns
- 4-6 litres water
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Add the frozen chicken carcasses, vegetables, herbs and peppercorns to a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover all the stock ingredients by 2cm and then pour in the apple cider vinegar.
- Bring the stock mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat down to a low simmer. Simmer gently for 4 hours, skimming as necessary if desired, until stock has reduced slightly and is golden in colour.
- Remove solids from pot and discard.
- If using skimming method, pass liquid the stock through a fine sieve or double layer of cheesecloth to strain out impurities. Allow to cool for approximately 20min to an hour, then carefully transfer to the refrigerator.
- Allow to cool for approximately 20min to an hour, then carefully transfer to the refrigerator. Once the stock is cold, carefully remove seperated fat layer that has accumulated on top of stock and discard. Pass liquid the stock through a fine sieve or double layer of cheesecloth to strain out impurities.
- Divide remaining stock liquid into 1 or 2 cup portions in airtight containers, leaving 2cm head space for expansion. Store in fridge for 4-7 days, or in freezer for up to 3 months.