Monday Mission: Do Something New with Stock

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sausage bean and kale soup (16) (500x375)

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to do something new with stock this month. It’s a Back to Basics for January, advanced level.

We’ve often talked about making homemade stocks and bone broths (I’m using those terms interchangeably here, but they do have slightly different meanings usually):

If you still don’t make your own stock (gasp!), do grab some chicken with bones – whole or parts – and give it a try. You’ll wonder why you haven’t taken the plunge before.

Please? Do it for me.

I’ve always had problems in the past keeping up on my stock. I would end up with 3 two-cup bags of shredded chicken in the freezer from a whole chicken, but I’d be already out of homemade stock.

My new upgrade has literally reversed the problem, and I’m now wondering, “Where’s the chicken?” and using broth in everything because I have so much.

(Top photo is Sausage, Bean and Greens Soup from The Everything Beans Book)

Some Ideas for Your “Something New”

chicken stock (5)

  • Beef broth: Maybe you, like I was for years, prefer the simplicity of chicken stock and have yet to make beef broth. You’ll love the GNOWFGLINS eCourse Fundamentals II, where Wardeh will teach you (and me, too!) how to make a deep, rich brown broth. I’ve made beef broth two or three times, and this recipe from Kellyguided me.I generally use mine for Kelly’s equally awesome French Onion Soup or a simple beef vegetable soup with whatever I have on hand.


  • Fish stock: You could try fish stock, which is definitely something in the “later, maybe” category for me. I’m still working on getting my husband to eat fish, period. I’ve always also used the excuse in my head that by golly, I don’t know where to get fish bones!

However, I just realized that I live in a state of 10,000 lakes (give or take) and a family of fishermen. Why have I never asked for carcasses when folks fish in the summer? Sorry, honey…we might just have fish soup in a few months!

  • Smash the bones: I took a meat tenderizer and cracked all the bones this last time I made stock. Holy cow is that a potentially messy endeavor, but kind of gratifying at the same time. Too stubborn to create extra dishes, I simply placed the bone on the stainless steel between the two kitchen sinks and banged away.
  • Use the tips in How to Make Bone Broth with Serious Gel and make a goal to get stock like the one pictured below from Lauren:
  • Use chicken feet: Talk to your butcher, your farmer, or your friendly neighbor who has chickens running around. If they’ll give you the feet, use them for superbly gelatinous broth. Be sure to ask whether they’re skinned or if you have to do it yourself… (more here)
  • Try seaweed: When I remember, I add a strip of “kombu” to the stock at the end with the veggies or parsley. This imparts additional minerals and salt (and doesn’t taste fishy at all).
  • A new place: If you always make stock on the stovetop, try a slow cooker. If you always use your slow cooker, try a stockpot.
  • Roast vs. boil: Do you boil a raw chicken or roast it first? Try the opposite and compare.
  • Change up the timing: You can make chicken stock in anywhere from 4-24 hours. Do something different this time…
  • Same bones, multiple batches: My big change that has me swimming in stock and looking for chicken is reusing the bones two or three times for multiple batches of stock! It’s awesome.
  • Keep some in your fridge: It was a new idea for me that I could reboil stock every 5 days, and it would somehow “reset” its life expectancy. This method could allow you to keep stock thawed so that you could use it more often, even if you haven’t planned ahead. (Thanks for that tip, Kimi!) Broth boosts immunities, so especially in wintertime, it’s great to use often. We also take fermented cod liver oil on a daily basis to keep up our stores of Vitamin D when the sunshine is elusive.
  • You can can homemade stock too!
  • Use it in things that aren’t soup: Maybe your stock has always been just for soup. Try chicken rice-a-roni (homemade) with chicken stock, or include any stock in a recipe in place of the water called for.
  • A new recipe: Maybe you already do everything above or just don’t want to try something new. Check out this list of recipes with homemade stock from real food bloggers or my soup recipes and find a new love.
  • Check out this vegetable bouillon that you can make homemade and keep in the fridge! I might make some for Lent…


What else? Can you think of another good challenge/upgrade that we who are already stock makers could tackle?

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26 Bites of Conversation So Far

  1. says

    Great suggestions and I can vouch for chicken feet, that stock was truly amazing and it was kinda skeevy, but like anything else. . . you just get used to it. (holy run on sentence, batman)

  2. Miranda says

    Our fav meal to use up chicken stock is risotto! I usually keep white table wine and raw sheep’s milk Romano on hand so it’s a meal that doesn’t require planning ahead! Recently I also used up some stock and goat’s milk to make white graby to go atop biscuits. Eggs on the side and it was a great lunch!

    With my beef stock I usually make shepherd’s pie or cottage pie. Comfort food! I also realized this week that I could use leftover stock to make beans and rice. Not sure why it took me so long to think of replacing water with it…

  3. says

    Chicken feet stock is the most delicious.

    We do lots with stock – my favorite thing is to make a reduction and cook veggies in it. The favor has such a boost. I’m struggling to think up new ideas, but happy to take on the challenge!

    Now I need some soup. :)

  4. says

    I’ve been looking around now and then for new things to do with my turkey stock (and beef for that matter) instead of our usual soups.

    I did find a yummy recipe a while back, using broth and cream cheese (which I make myself too, instead of buying it) with chicken and we fell in love with it so much that I have been trying to make it every week, as long as I have some cream cheese made up. I posted it on my blog today here… …if anyone wants a super easy thing to do with chicken (or turkey) broth. :)

  5. says

    I confess that I’ve only made 3 things with fish stock: the base (with white wine and tomato) for steaming mussels before serving with a shovelful of parsley; improvised bouillabase; and “dragon lady soup” (after the neighbour and great cook in Gran Tourino), which has coconut milk, ginger, spring onions, carrots, sometimes sweet pepper strips, chicken and/or shrimp, curry leaves, lemon grass and lime leaves. A bit of fish sauce and a chopped hot pepper doesn’t hurt either. IT’S DELICIOUS! And just the ticket for showing head colds the door. The best part is, the rarely-used ingredients live happily in the freezer until I need one or two leaves here and there, so it comes together quite quickly.

  6. says

    I just made stock using the post on making stock with serious gel this last weekend. It way my first attempt! It was successful – it gelled and everything. However, when I went to taste it, I was disappointed. It tasted almost burnt and not very much like chicken. Any advice?

    • says

      Oh, how disappointing! Did you salt your sample? Salt totally perks up the taste! The flesh gives the chicken-y flavor, so if the bones were really picked over or the meat wasn’t great, that might be lacking. Did you add veggies too early? Anything more than an hour (20 minutes for herbs) and I’d start to worry that they’d give a bitter flavour.
      And if all else fails, hide the stock in a flavourful soup (or risotto) and rest assured that it’s healthy even if it’s not ready to be consomme :)

      • says

        I think you’re right about the veggies going in too early. I also don’t think I skimmed/strained enough. There are probably some impurities in there I don’t want. Hopefully next time will go better.

  7. Lacy says

    Wow! I’m so excited to know I can reboil my stock and it will be ok!!! I’ve thrown out several batches that have languished in my fridge too long because I was too busy/forgot to strain and freeze. So good to know. And now I can keep some defrosted for cooking rice too!

    Question…is it bad to freeze in plastic containers? I’ve been using glass mason jars, but have lost several to cracking. I either need to buy more or find a different way of storing stock because all my jars are ending up in the fridge with none for my yogurt!

  8. Brea says

    I use chicken broth in place of the water in pretty much any savory recipe. It makes shepherd’s pie amazing. And my go-to recipe when I don’t know what else to make is “super gravy” – just saute a bunch of whatever meat or vegetables are on hand, add spices and a bit of thickener of choice and then three-ish cups of stock to make a sauce. It is very tasty and uses up odds and ends.

  9. Robin says

    I will say that the best thing I have ever done with stock is to freeze it in ice cube trays. This is a tip I have seen for years and thought “oh, that sounds like a good idea” but never really got around to it.

    However, a few months ago, I finally thought to pull out the ice cube trays and freeze it that way, and WOW, the best thing I’ve ever done. I usually make my stock in my crock pot, which gives me stock that is pretty concentrated from the get-go (nice and dark and strong), so I can just pull out one or two “ice cubes” of stock for every cup or so of liquid I need and just add the appriate amount of water. If I’m making gravy, I’ll just add the frozen stock straight without any extra water, and it’s already concentrated and perfect.

    The other thing I have started doing is instead of starting my stock with a whole chicken (leaving me with lots of shredded chicken to use up), I am now trying to use the chicken in a meal one night (like making roast chicken), then using the bones for stock. This way, we have a great dinner and I don’t find myself with so much extra shredded chicken.

  10. Lindsey says

    Great to know you can reboil the stock and it will last longer. I always try to use leftovers by day 4, so when I roast a chicken, then make stock the next day, I figured I can only keep the soup for two days. I have been reusing bones 2-3 times to get lots of stock, it’s so great!

  11. says

    I like using my chicken stock for pot pies.

    Don’t forget ham stock! I love making a good, rich ham stock for ham and potato or bean soup.

  12. says

    Katie, I think you should try to make fish stock. Because I’ve never done it and I’d rather you be the guinea pig then tell me how to make it. 😉
    I cook my beans in broth but some people don’t like the idea of consuming even broth on Fridays during Lent. Even though it is allowed now they think it’s against the spirit (although you can’t taste it in the refried beans and so how’s it really different from eggs, milk, cheese and butter? which they consume on Fridays with their pasta and pizza?) Anyway, for hospitality’s sake while stilling upping the nutrition every way possible I’ve been thinking it might be time to make broth from fish bones, but I don’t like fish to begin with and still never buy it except for canned tuna….

  13. says

    I discovered a new way to make stock just a week or two ago. I always used to make it in my crockpot, but the crockpot no longer maintains a low enough temperature — it always keeps the stock boiling! But for Christmas, I got a new big pot with a pasta insert — you know, the metal colander that you can leave in while you’re cooking the pasta. Turns out it works fine to chuck the chicken carcass in the colander, fill the pot up with water, and then when it’s done you just pull out the colander and the stock is instantly strained! So much less trouble than trying to dump hot stock through a plastic strainer, or waiting forever for it to cool.

    Everyone else has probably figured this out ages ago, but it saved me quite a lot of time and I’m very pleased with myself!

  14. says

    To make a veggie stock I save up all the ends and peelings from carrots. onions, celery, zucchini, garlic, potatoes etc. and put them in the freezer until I have enough to throw together with water and boil to death . then strain (cooked veggies to the pigs or compost pile) and the broth to the freezer. great way to use everything.

  15. says

    Oh, and I have been doing something different- I’ve been doing perpetual stock, like she talked about at Nourished Kitchen a few weeks ago. But I don’t drink as much as she does- I take a pint or two out each day a squirrel it away in the deep freeze, then add more water.

    I too want to make fish stock. I’ve made Dashi before, but that’s not really the same thing. But I do have some kombu on hand from that venture, so I should throw some in my stock from now on…

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