Do you want to feel like a “from scratch cook,” save some money, and have a staple in your freezer? Then make your own stock. It’s far easier than you’d expect.
When I buy rotisserie chicken for dinner, I don’t toss the carcass in the trash. Instead, I toss it in the freezer. Once I have two or three, I wait until I have some vegetables and herbs almost at the end of their useful life. Then, it’s stock making time. Note: You can also do this with the turkey carcass after Thanksgiving dinner, with a ham bone, with a few large beef bones, or even with just veggies.
Seriously, you will be stunned at how easy this is. Get out the biggest pot you own. I mean really big! Toss the bones and veggies in. Peel an onion and quarter it. Toss that in too. If you have leftover thyme or parsley or rosemary, chuck it in, stems and all. If you have celery in the crisper, this is a great use for the tops. (Celery leaves have tons of flavor.) Then fill the pot to the top with cold water and put it on the stove on medium high or high heat. Once it starts boiling, turn the heat back a bit and let it keep going. Whenever you wander into the kitchen to grab a snack or refresh your drink, give it a stir. Some gunk may appear on the top. You can skim that off and toss it down the drain. Let it simmer for at least an hour. I usually let it go for two. Then you want to let it cool a bit.
I generally try to get the bigger bones out with my tongs, just to make things easier. The last step is to strain the broth to get out all of the stuff that gave it flavor, but is now tasteless. (Seriously, you do not want to eat the veggies you pull out. You’ve been warned.) I line my colander with an old tea towel. You can also use a few dishwashing wipes or a batch of cheesecloth. Do not use paper towels. They will disintegrate and make a mess. I put the colander over my second largest pot and start pouring. Be very careful as you get to the bottom of the pot. The remaining bones and veggies will throw off the balance and can cause huge spills. You don’t have to get every last drop!
Once you’ve strained the broth, You need to let it cool completely. Then it’s ready to be put in containers to be used within a few days or frozen for a few months.
You can make a gallon or more of flavorful broth in a few hours, with less than 15 minutes of hands-on time. And you’re using stuff you’d have thrown out anyway. That’s a win!