I don’t know if it’s a toll from all of the furloughs that I’ve been given in the past two years, my mood about the economy in general, or just re-evaluating how we live in this day and age, but it seems like we waste a lot of things. The era of more and more consumption has lead us to an unhealthy economic base as well as a nation filled with unhealthy people.
The headlines are filled with news of more childhood obesity, more heart illness, etc. And the economic premise that we can only grow if we consume more, buy more, live bigger, drive newer cars, live beyond our means just hasn’t gotten us anywhere.
It’s been hitting home lately during the weeks of furlough when I look at the food that is piled in our pantry and shelves and the freezer, and I made a commitment, to myself at least, to use some of it up instead of buying more.
This rant led me to the discovery, buried deep in the bottom of our deep freezer in the garage, of two chicken carcasses from the last time Charles made rotisserie chicken for company. We use an obscene amount of chicken stock in our home, and we usually buy at least six cans at a time so there’s always some on the shelf, but this time I decided to make homemade chicken stock instead, using some vegetables in the bottom of the refrigerator and the two chicken carcasses from the freezer.
Making chicken stock and broth isn’t difficult. I watched Martha Stewart demonstrate it years ago, except she used two whole chickens and then tossed them! But if Martha can do it, so can you. You don’t need to use whole chickens like she did to make stock. Just think, how often are you stopping at the grocery store to get baked rotisserie chicken for your family meal? Instead of throwing out the carcass the next time, put it in a ziploc bag in the freezer, and on a lazy afternoon make some chicken stock and then freeze it.
You’ll be amazed, as we were, how much more rich homemade chicken stock can taste than the product in those cans lining the grocery store shelves, no matter what brands they may be.
First, cut some celery, onions, carrots if you have them, as well as parsley into rough chunks. You can even use the green leafy tops of carrots instead of parsley if you have carrots with the leaves still attached.
Add the chicken carcasses and enough water to cover them. Cover the pot and simmer covered on low heat for 4-5 hours. It took twelve cups (almost 3 l.) of water for me to cover the two chicken carcasses in the stock pot.
In a few hours the vegetables, herbs and chicken carcass would have surrendered their flavor into the stock and you’re almost done. Now let the stock cool uncovered for an hour before removing the chicken carcass with tongs and as much of the chopped veggies as you can with a slotted spoon.
Using cheesecloth over a wire strainer, ladle the stock through the cheesecloth and into a large bowl. Once you’ve done this, you can then ladle the strained stock into quart-sized freezer ziploc bags. Set the bags in a large Tupperware container, and put the whole thing in the freezer. Once frozen, you can remove the bags from the container and keep them in the freezer until you need to use the stock.