As we’ve alluded in our posts on staples, and stretching a chicken, we try to focus our consumption in a way that allows us maximum value and maximum quality. Here at Fort 10Chickens, we have two adults, two kids, and two dogs to feed, so we operate this place like a restaurant for six. We buy in bulk, but not only for financial reasons. Really, we do it because we can control the processing of our food, and create some really incredible byproducts in the process.
My personal favorite is super high-octane chicken stock, which is what we’re hear about. I won’t belabor the infinite uses of this nectar, but I will espouse the virtues of having your own, homemade frozen supply. First, it’s just better than anything you can buy in the store. Second, there’s no salt (beyond whatever natural salt the chicken has in its bones). If you ever look at the nutrition label on store-bought stock or broth – even the low sodium kind – your eyeballs will fly out of your head.
Plus, there’s something magic-adjacent about conjuring such incredible stuff from nothing, while standing over a big cauldron and cursing your enemies.
My process? Get all the chicken bones and skin you can (like from butchering twelve  whole chickens down into individual cuts), cover them with water, add some bay leaves, and simmer for as long as you’ve got.
You don’t want a full rolling boil here, just a simmer and time.
Usually, I plan poorly, and need to cool on a short run. Luckily, this time of year, the entire outdoors is a pretty good walk-in:
From here, I use a wire spider to get the big chunks, then pour it through a strainer into storage overnight. You can use cheesecloth if you want, but for my uses that’s overkill.
After a night in the fridge, there should be a top layer of rendered fat called schmaltz. It’s the engine oil of Jewish delis everywhere, and for good reason. Scrape it off and freeze it for later use.
As for the stock itself? If you’ve got a good jell-o looking situation, you’re in business. If you don’t, that’s okay too, it just means you’ve got a bit higher water content:
This may not look like much, but it’s the secret weapon of the best cooks you know. Hell, Marco Pierre White is shilling for a commercial version of this stuff. Buy a chicken; make some stock. You’ll see.