It is almost impossible to buy chicken stock that isn’t ruined by the food industry's additives, sugar, or bad fats. I have not found a single ready-to-use stock that I want to consume. Fortunately, homemade chicken stock is not difficult to make, and it is well worth the time and easy effort.
In the London area, we have an Organic chicken farm, McSmiths, which I have blogged about in the past. I cannot overstate the importance of a quality protein supplier. The chickens in the grocery stores are loaded with hormones and, in most cases, antibiotics, which do not make for healthy or delicious meals. Find an organic chicken farm in your area. It will mean the world to your family, and to the farmer who is working so hard every day to provide quality food for so many of us.
Once you make a big batch of this golden, hearty stock, you can freeze it in 1 quart containers. It will be the basis for so many beautiful soups all winter long. In fact, my next post will be an old family favorite - Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup. Wait for it. . . .
2 organic, free range chicken carcasses (locally available at McSmith's Organic Chicken Farm)
2 small carrots, peeled, trimmed
2 small onions, peeled, trimmed, and quartered
2 small celery stalks, trimmed
3 peeled, smashed, garlic cloves
Stems from 1 bunch parsley (optional)
3 to 4 green leek leaves, sliced (optional)
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
4 quarts water, approximately
In a stockpot, place the chicken bones, then add all of the remaining ingredients, except the water. Add water to cover by 2 inches, bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer uncovered for 2 to 3 hours, skimming as necessary.
Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and cool. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days, discarding the hardened layer of fat before using or freezing.
Note: for more about McSmith's Organic Chicken Farm, see August, 2009 blog.