Making Soup Stocks

Sometimes when I make a run to the grocery for some item I am caught off guard and find a bargain. Since I tend to be frugal but won't give up quality I like to take advantage of something worthwhile. i caught some chicken marked down for quick sale on Monday. It had a sell by date of Tuesday. The packages were legs and thighs and a cut up chicken. They were a little over 6 pounds all told. That is exactly a good quantity to make a big pot of soup stock for the freezer. I already had everything else I like to use so off I went with the chickens.
Here is what I used for the Chicken Stock:

6 1/2 pounds of assorted chicken (I have used all backs and wings or any combination will do)
5 carrots rinsed, trimmed and broken in half
5 stalks of celery rinsed and broken in half
1 large onion rinsed off and quartered (I leave the paper like skins on for color)
1 bay leaf
8 qt. water
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
Note: In the past I have added lemon grass and soy sauce for an oriental style stock and it works well.
Rinse the chicken well under the tap and combine it and all of the other ingredients in a very large stock pot. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for an hour or so until the chicken is tender but not falling apart. Remove the chicken and set it aside to cool. Return the stock and vegetables to simmer for another hour or two uncovered. Reducing the broth adds to the depth of
Cool the broth then strain through a fine sieve and pack into containers to refrigerate or freeze. This will keep in the refrigerator about 10 days and in the freezer 6 months. I do not try to take any fat off until I have frozen or refrigerated the stock as it all goes to the top and solidifies and is very easy to remove in it's solid state. This batch yielded 4 quarts of lovely chicken stock which is happily waiting in my deep freeze until a day I need it.
I am making a big bowl of chicken salad today with the poached chicken and I may reserve and freeze some of the meat for soup.

Beef Stock:
To make beef stock and I would use the same ingredients as above except for beef bones and shanks instead of chicken. Add 4-5 more onions and a whole garlic bud. I also add turnips quartered if I have them and fresh tomatoes or a 12 oz. can of tomato paste.
The method is different as I lay all of the seasoned beef out on an oiled baking sheet lined with foil and roast it for about an hour in a preheated 400 degree oven. Then I add the tomatoes or tomato paste and roast another 30 minutes.
When the roasting is finished combine everything from the pan (you want all of the crusty bits) in the stock pot with the vegetables and seasoning. Cover an inch or two with tap water and bring to a boil. Reduce to the very lowest you can turn the burner to and leave to simmer 8 hours or overnight, checking and adding a bit of water if necessary should it start to boil away too much.
You must be sure you stove will simmer at a lowest temperature and not boil away and burn before you dare to leave it on overnight.
The next day remove the bones and meat and strain the beef stock. Package the stock and freeze as with the chicken stock and pick the beef from the bones. The beef can be frozen for soups and casseroles or made into BBQ for sandwiches. At any rate you have a nice addition to your larder and are a step closer to good soups and recipes calling for homemade stocks. Plus the house smells like heaven and usually inspires me to get going on some bread and another pot of soup!!

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