Prep for Making Stock
When I prep the bird for cooking early in the day, I like to prep for making stock. I pull out the slow cooker and throw in the veggies (one onion, 2-3 carrots, and 1-2 celery stalks), filtered water, and splash of vinegar. This way all I have to do after dinner is throw in the remnants from picking the carcass (bones, juices, and chewy bits).
Pick the Carcass
After everyone has eaten their fill of roasted chicken, I bring the chicken carcass to the table and pick the meat off the bones. The bones, juices, and chewy bits go straight into the slow cooker for making stock. The meat gets stored in a glass container in the fridge to be used for another meal such as pizza, soup, or lettuce wraps. If I have any on-hand, I also add some chicken feet to the stockpot.
|Rewards From Picking the Carcass a 2nd Time|
I simmer the chicken stock for 12-18 hours. When that is done, I pick the carcass all over again. By picking the carcass a second time, you can make the most of the chicken. There is quite a large amount of meat, skin, and connective tissue that was too tough to eat before making stock, but these parts are wonderfully tender after being simmered in the stock.
Don't Toss Those Bones Just Yet!
After simmering for many hours, the chicken bones get soft. The small rib bones can be sprinkled with salt and eaten (my daughter especially loves these; obviously you should make sure they are soft before giving these to your kids). The larger bones are soft on the ends, so I crumble these directly into the bowl with the meat, skin, and connective tissues from the 2nd carcass-picking.
Use Stock Veggies, Meat, and Bone Bits for a Bowl of Soup Right Away
Additionally, I reserve the carrots and onions from the stockpot. These veggies combine with the meat and bone bits (from the 2nd carcass picking), a splash of fresh broth, and some salt and pepper to make a large bowl of soup (enough for 2-3 people). This soup can either be eaten right away, or stored in the fridge as an easy meal for later.
Preserve the Stock
I strain the remainder of the broth and pour it into glass containers. I do not skim the fat off the stock, as it makes the stock more nourishing. Depending on my stock needs in the following few days, I store the stock in the fridge or freezer.
Do you have any tips for making the most of a chicken?
This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade, Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet, Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist!