Friday, October 20, 2006

Homemade Chicken Stock

Here's a way I save money on chicken breasts as well as chicken stock:

Instead of buying (usually expensive) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I now purchase bone-in chicken breasts, often with the skin on (this will depend on the best price). (.99/lb this morning at Lowe's Foods.)

I usually freeze whatever meat I buy and then pull it out to defrost as the week goes on. I de-bone the chicken and place the bones and the skin in a pot of water with some celery tops and big chunks of carrot. I'll also add onion if I have extra. Boil the water until the vegetables are tender. Drain the broth in a colander, discard the cooked veggies and bones. If you want your broth very clear, you can then run it through a fine strainer.

I freeze one cup of stock in individual small (cheap!) ziploc bags. To me, it's like having gold in the freezer!

Now you have lots of homemade chicken stock as well as boneless, skinless chicken breasts ready to use. I used to buy at least one large Swanson's brand chicken stock a week.

Please do not be intimidated by the de-boning! When I was first married, I never bought bone-in chicken because I thought it was too hard and too messy. But with this method, it is ok to leave a little meat on the bones- it will add to the flavor of the stock. If you are going to make chicken soup out of the stock, you can pick the little bits of cooked chicken off the bones to add to the soup.

It also helps if the chicken breasts are still a little frozen when you de-bone them. They are not as slippery that way!

We go through a lot of chicken stock every week- I use it for pasta sauce, soups, and to flavor so many other dishes. Making my own has saved me at least $2.00/week, plus the money I save on the chicken breasts.

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