It really just came down to getting around to make the stock. It’s not hard at all, and hardly requires any attention. Depending on the recipe you should simmer from 2 hours to 10, so the only consideration appears to be making sure you will be around the house long enough to let it simmer away. I was recently listening to the Splendid Table, which was interviewing Michael Ruhlman–he discussed various types of stock, but named two general rules in making stock. First, he says, keep the temperature around 180F, and no higher (many stock recipes say to bring to a boil and then simmer–can’t recall why he said that but whatever reason he gave seemed to make sense. He said you could just set the oven to 180 and forget about it which sounded like a good idea, but I haven’t tried it). Secondly, he suggested not adding vegetables until the very end–they apparently soak up flavor rather quickly, and given that his suggestion is to simmer for 10-12 hours, they would have ample time to do so.
There’s not so much to tell other than that. I put in three chicken carcasses and the giblets and covered with water. I simmered for about 6 hours (“only’). The trick was getting the flame adjusted just right so that it held steady, but there’s so much water in the pot that you have a little time to catch it if it starts to overheat. You don’t add salt since it doesn’t boil away, so when you taste the stock at first it’s awfully bland. But just fix it when you make your recipe and you’re fine. I think not using the vegetables until the end (or in my case not at all, I forgot) did help somewhat–this is only the second time I’ve made chicken stock and I think it tasted better this time.
I strained out the broth and measured out 2 cup portions for freezing. I think I got about a gallon’s worth. I recently looked at the liquid chicken stock you can buy in stores, which is what i would buy rather than bouillon cube. One quart of that costs about $3, so this would save me about $12 total. Considering I already had several meals out of the chicken already, not bad, and certainly makes me feel even more justified in the cost ($2.50 – $3.00 per pound) that I pay for my organic free range all natural vegetarian chicken or whatever it is.
Oh, and I have a growing collection of chicken livers too in the freezer (you shouldn’t use liver in stock, so they say). I have some interesting looking frenchy-italiany appetizers that call for these so hopefully soon I’ll get a chance to make these. My husband is not so keen on the idea so I have to be sure there are other victims. (Oh, and another reason to use organic chicken–who wants to eat the body organ that is the detoxification system when god knows what chemicals and so forth has been going through it? Liver is a hard enough sell already!!!)