Ok - question one. What the heck is the difference between stock and broth?
We tend to use the terms interchangeably, but they are definitely not the same thing. Stock is made from the bones and cartilage of the animal, while broth is typically made from the meat. Both have their uses, and only in certain recipes would you really tell a difference. I personally appreciate stock a bit more - especially where it takes center stage like in a chicken soup. For me, taste-wise the flavor is deeper, and health-wise the benefits are immense. Just do an internet search on the health benefits of "bone broth" and there you go.
The big difference you will note is that stock will generally be darker, richer, and thicker. Because of all the gelatin released by the bones, it can also turn into a jelly-like consistency when cooled.
Now, there are many ways to make stock, and it is a recipe that is truly ageless as humans have been making stock from the bones of animals for hundreds of years. This method is what I call "Garbage Stock". I didn't put that in the title because you might have gone ewwww and not have clicked on it. But I call it garbage stock because I make it from the unwanted or inedible leftovers and scraps in my kitchen. This is great for those of us on a budget, because it costs little to no money to make.
Take this chicken carcass, for example. We ate a roast chicken, and I tossed the picked-clean carcass in a freezer bag and left it in my freezer. I also made roasted bone-in chicken thighs for dinner one night and saved all the bones. Sometimes we're lazy and buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. And guess what... that carcass goes into the freezer as well!
I also save vegetable scraps - onion ends, bases or tops of celery, etc. Sometimes there's a bag of carrots in the fridge that has seen better days and rather than throw it away, I add it to my stash in the freezer. Same thing if you have some veggies getting a little droopy or leftover fresh herbs that are about to turn bad. Don't ever throw food away! In this way we can reduce our waste and save ourselves money. You'll be cobbling together the future building blocks of this delicious and healthy stock essentially for free.
|Onion ends, celery base - better to go |
in the stock pot than the garbage!
|Just keep a stash in the freezer, and toss it |
in the pot when you're ready to make stock.
If you don't have enough, just supplement with some fresh veggies.
So what goes into the stock? Generally I get 2-3 carcasses at a time, toss in my frozen veggie pieces I've squirreled away and supplement with some fresh veggies/herbs as needed. Then I cover it all with cold water and simmer the crap out of it all day. I choose not to add salt and pepper to the pot as I'll add them to whatever recipe later on that the stock is used for.
- 2-3 chicken carcasses (or bones, or chicken feet!)
- 1TBSP white or apple cider vinegar
- 2 bay leaves and other assorted fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, rosemary, etc.
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3 ribs of celery, cut in large pieces
- 2 carrots, cut in large pieces
- 3 cloves garlic, whole
- Add the carcasses/bones to the pot and toss in the veggies and herbs. Add the vinegar. This will help draw the nutrients out of the bones. There is no exact science to how many veggies you need versus bones. And you can add whatever veggies you have lying about in your fridge. Just be mindful of using anything with too strong of a taste in large quantities (e.g. fennel, sundried tomatoes, etc). You don't want it to overpower your stock.
- Cover everything in the pot with cold water and bring it to a boil on the stove. Once boiling, lower the heat to simmer and let it go for at least 6 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Fat and yucky stuff will float to the top. You can skim it off, if desired.
- Once done simmering, strain the contents through a colander or mesh sieve covered with cheesecloth. Discard the solids.
- Place the stock in a container(s) in the fridge overnight. Skim the congealed fat off the top in the morning.
- Store by refrigerating, freezing, or canning.
|Sometimes I like to use chicken feet for my bones. |
They're super cheap and you get the BEST stock out of them.
|Scrub 'em well, and if there are any yucky patches, cut that |
part off with your kitchen shears.
|To get all that gelatin to come out of the feet, |
snip off the toes at the first knuckle with your shears.
|I also buy a pack of chicken backs and cut off the fat, |
then add in whatever carcasses I have sitting in the freezer.
Then I'll add all the veggies and stuff.
|Grammie's big aluminum saucepot makes another appearance...|
|Skimming off the congealed fat - YUCK!|
|Getting down to that beautiful gelatinous stock.|
|On the left is homemade stock, middle is my favorite store-bought brand,|
and on the right is one of the most popular brands of chicken broth in the US.
You can see the stocks are a much deeper/richer color. I prefer stock to broth.
|You could heat up a mug of stock on a brisk day and|
season lightly with some salt, pepper, maybe some
dried herbs. Delicious and healthy!