A few nights ago we had a wonderful rotisserie chicken dinner with our oldest friends, Dan and Debbie, and their three darling girls. With Thanksgiving around the corner, I was eying their chicken carcasses. When they told me they were going to throw them out, I immediately asked if I could have them. Because Dan knows me, he just smiled and nodded. It’s not everyday a guest asks to bring home the remnants of two chickens picked clean. But then again, we’re not really guests.
You can absolutely buy chicken broth ready made, even organic – it’s a great short cut that I often rely on. But if you have the time and more importantly, leftovers, this is a way to make use of the entire bird, getting as much out of your purchase as possible. Plus, if you have nightshade allergies (it’s almost impossible to find a stock without paprika), then this is an easy alternative that produces a rich, complex broth.
I collect carcasses and keep them in my freezer until I’m ready to use them. I like to use no less than two and preferably three at a time. This recipe uses two, because I think that is more realistic for the home cook. You can use the stock as a base for hearty Chicken & Rice Soup and Holiday Rice Pilaf.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
Yield 2 quarts (8 cups)
2 chicken carcasses
1 yellow onion, skin removed, cut in half
2 carrots, cut into thirds
3 celery ribs, cut into thirds
2 bay leaves, torn in half
9 cups water
10 whole black peppercorns
1 tsp. salt
- Place all ingredients into heavy stock pot and heat to high, making sure that the carcasses are covered by water. If not, then break the carcasses apart with your hands.
- Bring the stock boils, reduce heat and simmer uncovered, for 3 hours. Skim the top regularly for a clearer stock.
- Drain stock through fine mesh sieve and add more salt if necessary. Discard solids and skim any fat.
- Use immediately or cool completely then refrigerate, covered, overnight.
- Next day, skim any solid fat off the top. The stock will keep for 5 days, but it freezes perfectly. Make sure you leave 1/2 inch space between stock and lid. Or freeze in ice cube trays, popping 6 out when you need a cup for sauces.