As promised, here is a tutorial on making chicken stock and chicken soup. This was one of the last things I wanted to have in the freezer before baby comes. We love this soup and its great to have the stock in the freezer all ready to go.
First, buy a whole chicken. Wash it off and chop it up a bit. I usually cut mine in half and cut off the legs and wings. It doesn't matter how you do this, just fit it into a large soup pot. Add some onion, carrots, and celery - just break the veggies into chunks, don't worry about chopping them all up. Cover with filtered water and a splash of rice vinegar. Let this all sit for about an hour to help draw out the nutrients. Heat to a boil briefly and then cover and turn down to simmer for an hour and a half.
Use a pair of tongs to take out all of the chicken, leaving everything else still cooking in the pot. The meat will easily fall off of the bones. Put the bones, skin, and everything back into the pot (still cooking) and put all of the meat in a container. In the above photo I'm almost done: a few bones left on the plate, good chicken meat in the container, and bones back in the pot to cook some more. Cover the pot and let it simmer as long as you'd like. I started this stock in the morning and let it simmer all day until dinner time. (Put the cooked chicken in the refrigerator.)
When your stock is finished cooking, use a strainer to scoop out the bones and veggies, dumping them into the trash. After I scoop out the big chunks, I use a canning jar funnel with a strainer on top and ladle the broth into the jars through the strainer, leaving 3-4 inches at the top. I got about 4 big jars of broth, and some left in the pot to make a batch of soup for supper. (Be sure to strain this as well to get any little bone pieces out.) Leave the jars on the counter to cool, then refrigerate them overnight before freezing. I sometimes divide up the meat and put it right into the jars with the chicken stock. This time the jars were rather full so I didn't have room to add the meat. I'm going to divide the meat into small bags and freeze it along with the stock.
When I want to make soup I'll pull out a jar of stock and a bag of meat all ready to go. Add to the soup pot:
minced garlic (2-3 cloves, more if we're sick) - stir fry for a few minutes
chicken stock and meat from freezer
a large carton of chicken broth
a teaspoon or two of chicken bouillon
a pinch or two of sugar (my Dad's secret ingredient)
noodles (we like the homemade style, like this) or rice
Bring to a boil, cover and simmer about 20 minutes (or longer if you're using brown rice).
Enjoy! The stock makes this soup extra nutritious and tasty. I've read that some people make this type of stock once a week and use the meat in casseroles and dishes and use the stock for liquid in cooking rice, steaming veggies, and more. Give it a try!