In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


Recycle your Chicken

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Monday, January 11, 2010

Hehe.  Ok, that sounds a little gross, but it was the best I could come up with- and you have to admit its a pretty whitty title for a post on making chicken stock, don't you think?  Ok ok, enough self-appreciation, moving along.

I am just so excited about our chickens, I just can't even express how awesome they are.  While our laying hens are pretty sweet and have started generating their own income through eggs, I am quite certainly talking about our broilers.  Yep, those gigantic birds that we dispatched this past fall that have been taking up residence in our freezer.  Probably once every week or two we pull one of these ladies (or gentlemen, we're equal-opportunity eaters here) out to thaw.  A couple days later she (or he, see above) is ready for a little garlic/rosemary/butter rub before heading in to the oven (I usually do 500 degrees for 40 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the particular bird).  Normally I'll just stick the bird on top of a bed of chopped carrots, onions, and celery in a baking dish.  Sometimes I'll put out a roasting pan if the chicken is big enough to warrant the extra cleaning.

Kyle and I are a little picky when it comes to our roast chicken.  Most of the time we'll only eat the breast meat and the tenders.  This may sound wasteful to some, but hey, remember my superly-awesome title for this little baby?  Thats right, we don't toss the rest, or feed it to the dogs even (sorry Shyla and Ollie).  Sometimes the chicken gets tossed into the fridge for a day or two because, lets be honest, who really wants to get finished with dinner just to start cooking again?  Sometimes I do it this way- after carving off the meat for dinner, toss it all into a stock pot- but only when I feel like super-homesteader-woman.

So the next day (or right off if I'm feeling like SHW as I said just now) I'll toss a couple chopped onions, a few ribs of celery, and a few carrots into a stock pot with some olive oil, garlic, and some thyme.  After they get softened up a bit I'll add the chicken as well as the veggies that are in the pan with it (skin, bones, fat and all).  Fill the pot up to cover everything and get that puppy boiling.  Once it starts boiling, lower the temp so it just sort of simmers and let it go until the bones are pretty much all seperated (in other words; if you pull out the bones you shouldn't see the perfect skeleton of a chicken, just a bunch of bones).

If it tastes like chicken stock, sweet; pour that sucker through a colander into another pot or a bowl to catch the stock.  Now this is where you can go a couple different routes.  What I normally do is pour about half a gallon of the stock into jars to save for later use.  Sometimes I'll can all the broth like this and deal with the meat seperately, this works if you want to make something out of the chicken meat like sandwiches, enchiladas, or just put it on salads.

Pick through the contents of the colander, pulling out as much meat as possible.  I usually shred it up a bit before putting it aside.  If I'm going to make soup, or chicken pot pie, I'll also go through the veggies for any that are still fairly solid after all that boiling.  (If I'm not making soup or pot pie, the veggies go with the bones into the compost.)

At this point you have the makings for whatever you want.  If you'd like chicken noodle soup, toss that meat, veggies, and broth back into the stock pot and get cooking!  Pot pie?  Then mix some flour into melted butter, add some stock, the chicken, veggies, salt and pepper if you'd like, and walla!  You have pot pie filling (if you add a bit of milk or cream at this point it is super delicious as well)!  Sometimes I'll make a bunch of this (depending on how much meat I can get off the chicken) so I can store a couple meals of it in our freezer.  Make your favorite pie crust (even better, make a double batch so you can freeze some of that for later, too!), cover the filling in a pie pan, and toss that sucker into the oven!

Man, I'm hungry...


  1. Donna Mae Says:
  2. MMMM now I"M hungry too!!

  3. Anonymous Says:
  4. I love SHW! I might have to adopt that phrase!

    I love the idea of using the veggies for stock in a pot pie filling, that's just awesome, great suggestion!

  5. Melissa Says:
  6. haha! Thanks, Oxray. :)