First of all, there are normally about 35 ingredients in those chicken bouillon cubes. Let me list the first 6 ingredients for you in those cuties that we sometimes use out of convenience. There’s salt, sugar, corn maltodextrin, salt bicarbonate, and hydrolyzed corn protein (a form of MSG), and…oh, more MSG. I don’t see “chicken” among them, do you? It rolls in at 7th in the form of “chicken fat”.
Well, I know there are quite a few of organic brands that produce chicken broth for your convenience and conscience. I’m not opposed to it if you have to go that route in a pinch; However, convenience doesn’t come cheap. It adds up. So I’m going to teach you how to make healthy, flavorful, and rich chicken stock inexpensively. Prepare yourselves, I’m not going to ask you dump a whole chicken, veggies, and even herbs in a big soup pot and simmer and forget about it for hours. You certainly can do that. And it does sound easy. Heck, even Barefoot Contessa does that. But that method is NOT going to make you the most flavorful stock and i’m all about getting the best flavor out of whatever I’m making. Not to mention it costs less.
(so cheap, right?)
Since we’re planning on shredding the meat off the bones and using it in dishes after we make the stock, we should do whatever in our power to preserve the juices and flavor of the meat. How can you achieve that? ROASTING! When you directly put a whole chicken in the pot and boil the heck out of it along with some veggies for a few hours, the chicken will release all of its water to the supposed stock and automatically weaken the stock. And the meat itself will become dry and bland. Consequently, your dishes that have the chicken in will suffer as being dry and mediocre. Not on my watch. So, why roasting? Roasting equals intensifying. When any cut of meat contains its bones and gets roasted, the meat will have a chance to caramelize and the marrows of the bones to draw out (Jami is grossed out right now knowing all the technical stuff, but she will thank me later). That is how the flavors get developed and that is how you get your money’s worth!
Ingredients 5 chicken drum sticks, organic preferably 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 teaspoon fine sea salt ½ teaspoon ground black pepper ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon onion powder ½ teaspoon chili powder
- Preheat oven to 400F. Set the oven rack on the lowest position. Line baking sheet with heavy-duty foil.
- Wash the chicken drumsticks and pat dry them well. Loosen up the skin of each drumstick. Set aside.
- Mix the olive oil and all seasonings together to form a paste in a small bowl or on pan. Rub it evenly on each drumstick and underneath the skin. This step guarantees flavorful meat.
(once all rubbed on, you put the skin back over)
- Place the seasoned drumsticks on a baking sheet. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- When the drumsticks are done, remove them to a plate to rest and cool.
- Don’t clean your baking sheet right away! Pour 2-3 cups water into the sheet. Let it sit for about 30 minutes or till the brown bits on the baking sheet come off. Gently scrap them off with a spatula. This step is “deglazing” the sheet and picking up all the “fond”. This step also helps clean your baking sheet. Reserve the “fond” water.
Cook’s note- What is fond? In the culinary arts, it’s pretty much a word for the little roasty and brown bits left at the bottom of a pan where something has been cooked. Fond, from the French word for bottom . “Oui Oui!
Because of how it is created, fond is concentrated flavor, and the technique for dislodging the fond from the bottom of the pan and incorporating into a sauce, is called deglazing.
Once the drumsticks are cool enough to handle, shred the meat of the bones to use it for dishes later.
Equipment 3-6 quart slow cooker strainer various sizes of Tupperware containers
5 pieces of drumstick bones and the crispy skin
3 cloves garlic, halved
½ onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 celery, cut into 3-inch pieces a couple of mushroom stems, if available
1 dried bay leaf
1 teaspoon pepper corn
2 teaspoons sea salt (you should under-season the chicken stock at this point because you can always add more salt to your dishes later.)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (this helps balance the saltiness of the stock and gives it the sweet taste that MSG gives without the harm.)
Reserved “fond” water 6 cups water
Directions Place everything in the slow cooker. Set it on “low”. I’d recommend starting it before you go to bed. And you will have the smell of fresh and rich chicken stock waking you up instead of coffee the next morning. Strain the stock and discard the bones and veggies.
- If you mind the fat on the surface, you could skim it off.
- If you don’t use it all or have a few cups left that day, freeze the rest in containers. Plan ahead to thaw it in refrigerator or microwave to defrost before adding it to dishes.
- Homemade chicken stock is a lot richer than store-bought (but way cheaper). Do not be alarmed when chilled chicken stock becomes a “jello-y” substance. That is called “Gelatin” and it will melt when warmed.