A Chicken Trick


One thing we try to do in this house is really get our money’s worth of food, stretching an ingredient out as much as we can and leaving very little for our compost. An example of this is our monthly purchase of an entire chicken (processed and cleaned, don’t worry!). About once a month we buy a chicken from the North Carolina State Farmers Market for about $15. This might seem like a lot to go toward one grocery item but how quickly would you spend that on some store bought soup stock, soup or individually wrapped chicken breasts? Pretty quickly! Try doing this instead on a weekend. Add some vegetables to a pot, add a whole chicken, some seasoning and let it simmer for a few hours. You’ll end up with several jars of homemade chicken stock, and lots of delicious cooked chicken to freeze or use in a variety of dishes. Last week when we made this, the chicken provided us at least ten servings of protein in addition to loads of stock. That’s less than 75 cents a serving!  Here’s how you can do it too:

Homemade chicken stock & a good cooked chicken

Servings: A lot!


  • 1 whole 3-5 lb. chicken, rinsed and patted dry
  • A few teaspoons each of salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning of choice (I love Penzeys Northwoods)
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  •  3-5 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 3-5 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2-3 whole Bay leaves


  • Season the chicken with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning.
  • In a dutch oven or soup pot, brown the entire chicken on both sides on medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes until the skin is golden brown. This takes a bit of work. I use a combination of tongs and a wooden spoon to flip the chicken.
  • Add fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, bay leaves and vegetables; give everything a good stir (as best you can).
  • Pour in enough water to almost cover the chicken, leaving about 2 or 3 inches of head space.
  • Simmer for about 1 hour and 45 minutes depending on the size of your chicken, until meat is tender and falling off the bone and juices are clean with no tint of of red or pink.
  • Remove chicken and let cool. Once cooled, leave whole as a main dish or chop and reserve for later use.
  • Strain liquid with a sieve or cheese cloth and reserve for later use.

Notes & Ideas:

  • Freeze stock in individual bags or freezer safe containers to use for soup, stews etc.
  • Separate vegetables, warm and serve as a side dish.
  • Cook some rice, chop the chicken and add it all back into the pot for a large amount of the classic chicken and rice soup.
  • Chop chicken and use in pasta, salads, sandwiches or just plain as a main dish!
  • To be even more resourceful try saving some of your veggie scraps from the week before to add to you stock such as carrot tops, pepper cores etc. Just wash, toss into your stock and discard after use.
  • Finished product could look something like the image below. Enjoy!




    • Thanks Gade! This is super easy to do with little Clara in the house because you can leave it on low all day (or in a crockpot) and not have to worry about staying in the kitchen. Additionally you’ll have lots of food to eat off of 🙂


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