Spatula Diaries: 5 reasons to make your own chicken stock

The supermarket’s soup aisle will give you plenty of excuses to avoid making homemade stock. The shelves are chock-full of readymade options, and many of them are good quality. But there’s something about homemade stock bubbling away on your stove that can’t be replicated in a box or can.

It really is worth your time to whip up a batch. Here’s why:

1. It’s easy.

The recipe below requires minimal ingredients, easy assembly and it only simmers for an hour, during which time almost nothing is required of you.

2. It smells amazing.

Your house will be enveloped in savory aromas that scream “home is where the heart is,” and other cheesy platitudes. And you will believe them because it smells so good.

3. It’s practical.

When you use a fresh bird, you’ll end up with several cups of tender, yummy cooked chicken. We’ve become so accustomed to ubiquitous rotisserie chicken that we’ve forgotten our grandmothers used to boil chickens on the stovetop for easy use.

4. It’s better than the boxed or canned stuff.

Way, way better.

5. It’s a mother ingredient.

A great stock is the beginning of a world of recipes. Think soups, risotto, chicken pot pie, pasta sauces and more.

Here’s how to make a simple chicken stock at home:

Homemade chicken stock

Makes 1 gallon

1 3-to-5-pound fresh whole chicken, giblets removed
16 cups water
1 white or yellow onion, peeled and quartered
3 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into large pieces
3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
5 bay leaves
Several sprigs fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt

In a large stock or pasta pot, place the chicken and add the water. Bring to a boil. Add the remaining ingredients, return to a simmer and cook for 60 minutes. Turn off the heat, let the chicken sit in the pot for 10 minutes, then remove. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and save for another use. Strain the stock, removing the vegetables, peppercorns and herbs, and refrigerate the stock overnight. Skim the layer of fat that rises to the top (optional), and use or freeze.

Maggie Heyn Richardson is a regular 225 contributor. Reach her at hungryforlouisiana.com.