This takes a bit of time (i.e., don’t expect to do it day-of for a weeknight dinner), but is much, much better than just using water and significantly better than using store-bought stock, which I find disgustingly salty. If you make it from frozen vegetable scraps, it requires practically zero additional hands-on time!
Unfortunately, I don’t have a crockpot, so my stock didn’t get quite the depth of flavor that a full 8-hour stint in the crockpot would have given (because I had stuff to do, and leaving a pot unattended on the stove feels okay for an hour if it has lots of liquid, but more is pushing it), but it was still way, way, better than storebought. If you do have a crockpot, you can let this simmer all night after picking the meat off a roast chicken, cool the stock in the fridge all day, skim off the fat before you start cooking, and make soup for dinner!
Scrap Vegetable/Chicken Stock/Broth
Yield: 4-8 cups, depending on cooking time/preference.
1 carcass from roast chicken, picked clean of meat
3-4 cups frozen vegetable scraps (I had ends of onions, carrots, celery, and radishes, sweet potato peels and fennel stalks)
4-8 cups water
1 tsp peppercorns (optional)
1 tsp salt (optional)
2 bay leaves (optional)
Add carcass and vegetable scraps to pot and cover with water. Add seasonings if desired.* Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Leave for approximately 2 hours. (If you have a crockpot, cook on low for up to 8 hours.)
Strain with a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. If making chicken stock, let sit for several hours (preferably overnight) in the fridge and skim off fat that has solidified on the surface. Store in containers or mason jars in the fridge or freezer. If freezing, don’t fill the contain up all the way, as it will expand.
*Technically, broth is seasoned, stock is not.