Ok, I know what you’re thinking: I don’t have time to make chicken stock from scratch!  I felt exactly the same way.  I resisted for a long time, until a friend mentioned that instead of the traditional method, which requires a whole raw chicken and a bunch of veggies and herbs, she just used the unused bits of her roasted chickens.  Brilliant!  I skip pretty much all of the fussy steps.  After roasting a chicken, I take all the meat off the bird and save it (usually for a tasty chicken stew or chicken pot pie).  After that, pretty much all you have to do is boil.  It’s that easy.  I don’t skim it.  If you don’t get obsessive about it, it’s a really easy process.  Plus, I figure it helps justify the extra I spend on organic chicken, and it’s basically free!

All told, this stock probably require about 15 minutes of actual work (though it does dirty 2 largish pots…but the boy does the washing around here:)), and usually yields me 2-3 quarts of stock, depending on the size of the chicken. 

Easy Homemade Chicken Stock

Remove all of the meat from your roasted chicken, reserve for tasty leftovers.  Place everything that’s left (bones, skin, etc), in a large stockpot and cover with cool water.  Bring water to a boil, reduce to a lively simmer.  Simmer for at least an hour (I usually do this right after we finish dinner, while the boy does the dishes.  Then I let it boil until around bedtime.), or as long as you have (3-4 hours should be more than enough). 

Remove from heat.  Place a colander in a large bowl or another pot (you can line it with cheesecloth if you want.  I never have cheesecloth, so I never do.  The stock still tastes just fine).  Pour the stock though the colander.  Discard chicken pieces, they’ve done their duty.  Ladle stock into canning jars or freezable plastic containers (make sure they’re also microwaveable, then you can easily thaw your stock).  Freeze.  (to do this, I usually try to let them cool, then put them in the fridge or freezer.  In the winter, I just put them outside overnight, then transfer to the freezer).   Should keep up to 7 days in the fridge, or 6 months to a year in the deep freezer.