Nothing says Broke-Ass Mom more than homemade straight from the earth (or your compost in this case) chicken stock. This has got to be one of the more Broke-Ass things we do around here (besides playing with cardboard boxes on rainy afternoons). If you don’t make your own stock what are you waiting for? It’s easy, it’s cheap, and it’s downright yummy.
Start with your compost. Think about the things you’d like to flavor your soup with: onion, celery, carrots, garlic, and shallots. Now every time you cut up any of these things, take the scraps that you would usually throw away into your compost, put them in a freezer bag and store them in your freezer. You’ll want to save skins, the ends, or the leaves.
Next, dig through that compost for your chicken scraps. If you’re truly a Broke-Ass Mom you buy whole chickens rather than boneless skinless chicken breasts. On average you can get a whole chicken for about $2/lb, if you’re really lucky, and living in the right part of the country you might be able to get one for less than a buck a pound. Once you’re done eating the chicken, save the bones, the skins, and the carcass. Put all these things into a freezer bag next to your new veggie compost collection now being stored in your freezer.
Once you’ve got a gallon filled bag of both the veggies and the chicken bits, you’re ready for your stock. Hopefully you already have on hand two large (about 10-12 quarts) stockpots. If not, just run down to your Goodwill and buy yourself two of them. Throw all veggie plus chicken bits into one pot and fill the rest of the pot with cold water. Boil this for at least 3 – 4 hours (keep an eye on it that it doesn’t overflow). We tend to do this on rainy weekends, when we know we’re not leaving the house. But you could start this during naptime and have it easily finished by dinnertime.
Once you’ve boiled it, strain out everything but the water (now your stock). For this you need a rather large strainer (with a very fine mesh) so you don’t have to spend your afternoon straining it, and you can strain it right over your second pot. Little by little pour from your first pot into the strainer over the second pot. When you’ve finished straining everything out, you’ll want to degrease the liquid. The simplest, and most Broke-Ass method, is to put the second pot now full of liquid into the refrigerator until a layer of fat forms on top easy enough to scoop out and remove.
That’s it. Broke-Ass Mom Chicken Broth. Now that you have this you can use it for soup (Thai Chicken Noodle, Chicken and Rice, Chicken Tortilla, etc), for sauce (Chicken with Tarragon Sauce, Veloute, Espagnole, etc), or for flavoring (cook with green beans, asparagus, spinach, etc). Enjoy!
Photo by: Istockphoto RickLord Photography