Chicken Stock

It used to be easy to pick up a can of plain chicken stock at the grocery store. Not so much today as more brands cater to the consumer's taste buds by adding seasonings which is great for humans. Dogs, not so much since most contain onion powder, etc which are harmful for dogs. The only truly natural brand I have found is Swanson Flavor Boost  which doesn't contain any added ingredients - no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, MSG, or most importantly onion. I use it in a pinch but I find that it's simple and cheaper to make it myself. 

Whenever I cook a chicken (baked, grilled, it doesn’t matter) or buy a rotisserie chicken, I save the bones for the stock, including leftover meat from the dinner plates. I've even boiled a whole chicken to start a stock, removing the meat once cooked to use for Kirby's meals. I also use the gizzard, heart and neck when available.  I throw everything in a large freezer bag which I store in my freezer until I'm ready to cook up a batch.

I also purchase chicken feet at the grocery store in the frozen section.  They really help add gelatin to the stock.

Some people like to soak the chicken carcass in a pot of water with a few tablespoons of cider vinegar to draw out the minerals.  I don't find this step necessary since I cook the bones to almost mush which release all the nutrients on its own.

Chicken Stock

Chicken Stock

Chicken stock is a mineral rich base for so many healthy treats and meals. In times of illness let your dog drink a small bowl of chicken stock or pour over kibble.

Yields: 16 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4-6 hours

Nutrition facts: 19 calories, 5 from fat

Ingredients

  • 2 - 3 chicken carcasses
  • 4 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 4 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
  • sprigs of fresh parsley (optional)
  • sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • cold filtered water
  • 1 - 2 chicken feet (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Place the chicken bones in a dutch oven or large pot and cover with water.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer uncovered on low heat letting some of the water boil off for at least 4-5 hours. Leave the pot covered but slightly ajar until the last half hour or so.
  3. Strain the stock through a small mesh colander.
  4. Chill the stock overnight in the refrigerator. The fat will rise to the top and harden so you can just skim it off.
  5. Crock Pot Instructions:

    1. Use the biggest crock pot you have. Don’t overfill with water since it won’t evaporate as quickly as with a stockpot. Make sure the lid is weighted down and that simmering can’t move the lid around or you will have water everywhere.
    2. Place the chickne bones and vinegar in the crock pot and cover with cold water. Let sit for about an hour.
    3. Add in the remaining ingredients. Start on highest setting and bring to a boil.
    4. Slow cook for at least five hours on high or overnight on low.
    5. Skim the scum/foam that rises to the top as needed.
    6. Strain into your container of choice.

I like to freeze the stock in mason jars. I also freeze some in small silicone molds or ice cube trays. Once frozen I pop them out and place in zip lock freezer bags with the date written on the bag. Each cube contains 2 tablespoons or 1 ounce.  12 ice cubes equal roughly 1 cup.

It can be stored in the refrigerator up to 48 hours or frozen for up to three months. 

Chicken Stock cubes.JPG

Tips:

  • Pulverize the softened bones in your food processor and add back to the stock to make a highly nutritious calcium rich stock.
  • Label large zip lock bags and over time just throw leftover bones and vegetable scraps in the freezer. Do one bag for chicken stock bones and one bag for bone broth bones.
  • Don't use a pressure cooker because it destroys essential vitamins that are heat sensitive.
  • It is never a good idea to leave a stove on overnight so I turn mine off at bedtime and then turn it on high in the morning until it starts boiling vigorously and then turn it down to a simmer.  Then I turn it off when I go to work. When I get home I make it boil again and then turn it down to a simmer until bedtime. A crock pot can stay on 24/7.
  • I make either bone broth or chicken stock so often that I finally purchased a large crockpot - I can let batches safely simmer as long as necessary leaving my stove top free and easier cleanup.

Whenever I need some chicken stock for a meal, human or canine, or some treats I just grab a jar or a few cubes from the freezer and I'm good to go! 

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