What to do with leftover chicken carcass?

ive always been a fan of the nasty bits (tripe, tongue, etc etc) but I can’t think of what to do when I buy a small raw roasting chicken to cut up into breasts, thighs,
Wings, etc. It just seems to be such a waste to throw out of the majority of it even though I do end up saving money in the long run.

Stock is really labor intensive - mostly in getting all the meat off the bones.
Can’t make chicken feet
Can’t make chicken butthole (or at least I don’t think I can)
Idea for liver, heart? Anything I can do besides frying em?

What do you mean, stock is labor intensive? Cut your chicken into pieces to cook, and collect a few chicken “frames” (as they’re known) in the freezer. When you have 3 or 4, put in a stock pot and cover in water, add a yellow onion (with skin on for colour), season very lightly, and simmer. You can do it in a pressure cooker, crock pot, even in the oven. Strain, reserving the liquid, throw out the bones, chill it, separate fat (which you can use as schmaltz) and ta-da, stock.

I’m not a fan of offal, so can’t help you there. I feed the icky bits to my dogs.

Feeding the “icky bits” to the pets is a legitimate use of chicken parts in my book.

I actually go out of my way to buy those bits for the dogs.

Oh, and liver stroganoff is nice!

And if that’s too much work, leave out a few steps. Here’s my post-roast-chicken dealio:

  1. Scavenge the meat off the bones. You can skip this one.
  2. Throw the bones in a pot and cover with water.
  3. Salt, and maybe a halved onion and a broken carot and a stalk of celery and a couple bay leaves and a couple cloves garlic, but everything except salt is optional.
  4. Simmer for 2-3 hours.
  5. Strain. Keep the fat on, because it’s tasty in soup and because I’m lazy.

So really, it’s bones, water, maybe veggies, simmer, strain. This bare-bones recipe is totally easy, takes about 10 minutes of work total.

I also think stock is easy.

I freeze at my bits from breaking down chickens, the bones from roasted and fried chicken, and the veggie scraps (onion ends, carrot peels, celery bottoms, the bits of parsley I don’t use, etc.) from vegetable prep. When I have enough to fill my biggest stock pot (which is really big - 40 quarts, I think? Cost me $20 at the local Middle Eastern market.) I dump all the frozen bits in there, add water and salt and a few bay leaves, turn it on and walk away for 8 hours or so.

The biggest challenge is straining 40 quarts (10 gallons) at once. I find it helps to scoop out as much as possible first, and put the chunky bits through a colander last. Of course, I only have one 40 quart pot, so I have to dirty a few smaller pots or bowls to hold the stock during the process. The it goes back into the stock pot and gets boiled down to a sticky paste so it takes up less room in my fridge.

If you’re not sold on making stock, then the only other thing I can think to do with a chicken carcass is to grind it into pet food. Which sounds like more work than making stock.

And your pets will fully endorse the idea as well.

Yeah, just throw the leftover carcass into a pot along with the feet (great gelatin content on those will give your stock nice body), neck, and whatever random chicken parts I have. (It’s unclear from the OP, but it sounds like you think you need to trim all the meat. You don’t.) You’ll want a few carcasses to have enough for a reasonable amount of stock. I leave out the organs for stock, but when I make soup out of the stock, I’ll sometimes put the liver and heart in for that. Add onions, carrots, and celery, parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns, maybe a few sprigs of thyme, a bit of salt, bring to boil, then to simmer. (I don’t go crazy on salt at this stage–that I adjust when it’s done, but it needs some salt, like a teaspoon or so at this point, but you can do it without any salt and just salt later, if you want.) Then wait for a few hours. Three or four should be fine, but you can go longer, if you wish for maximum extraction. If you don’t have all those herbs and vegetables, just use what you got.

Strain. If you want to defat it without much work, just put it in the fridge for 12 hours or so, and the fat will solidify on the top. Skim it off (and I like to save it in a jar to cook with.)

If you want to make it clearer, you can do a parboil first, too. So bring the chicken bits without the veggies to a boil, dump the water, rinse the parts with cold water, and continue with the stock making the usual way. You are also supposed to skim the scum as the stock simmers to help make it clearer, too. I often don’t bother, unless I’m going for something where a clear stock is important to presentation. (And then there are super clarifying techniques that involve egg whites and shells.) All this is for informational purposes. It doesn’t have to be more complex than dumping a bunch of chicken parts and veggies into a pot and simmering over low heat (after first bringing to a boil) for a few hours.

As for the chicken liver, a liver or two adds a nice savory note to bolognese meat sauce without being overpowering. Otherwise, I just like getting a bunch and frying up with onion or making pate from them. Or, if you have a bunch, wrap 'em up individually in a slice of bacon, put a toothpick through each to secure, and bake for a nice little appetizer. Add a slice of water chestnut and marinate it in some soy sauce and ginger, and you have rumaki. (My mother just made the simple unmarinated livers and bacon as a kid to snack on during Saturday night network TV movie night, and I loved them.)

Yeah, stock takes a long time to cook, but the actual time one has to spend is not much at all. Maybe it will seem that way the first few times, but once get the routine down, it’s easy peasy. I’m just lamenting the fact that, with summer here, there won’t be too many days when I want to heat up my house making stock. I had soup for dinner last night with homemade chicken stock (I still have a few servings left in the freezer), and it was absolutely wonderful.

Add another to the ‘stock is easy’ crowd. But don’t salt your stock. Salt whatever dish you are making with your homemade stock. I use a 300 degree F oven, because it is easier to keep the stock at a simmer there. I keep wing tips, backs, offal, necks, etc. And for seafood stock, I keep shrimp, crab and lobster shells, fish bones of whole fish, and mussel shells. Beef stock is harder, because butchers have realized that there is a good market for marrow bones.

Other stocks are easy as well. A friend gave us a lamb, along with scrap from several other lambs. We had three stockpots going all day with bones and assorted stuff. We did it during winter, so we could cool the pots outdoors. We eventually strained and bagged it in ziplock bags and froze them.

I don’t know. I find that salting after the stock is made just doesn’t produce the same result as salting before. Am I fooling myself?

Oh, and freezing. Don’t forget about freezing. Make as big a pot of stock as you can, and you’ll have stock for weeks. I usually only have to make once a month or so.

I agree with you. I’ve forgotten the salt before, and couldn’t rescue the result. Maybe because I grew up with Mom’s salted stock and canned broths with lots of salt. But salt is a must for me.

I put a little bit, but if I’m reducing it a lot (like to a glace), I won’t salt it all. I honestly can’t tell if I can taste a difference. It seems a little bit of salt during cooking helps pull the favors out, but that might be all in my head. The unsalted stocks and broths I make seem to woek out okay if salted afterwards, too. I like to think perhaps they’re not quite as rich as salt while cooking ones, but I wouldn’t put any money on it and I’ve never done a proper side-by-side test.

Separate out any meat that’s easy to separate out, and use it for whatever you’re using meat for. The meat that’s hard to separate off, just leave it on the carcass, and it’ll contribute to the stock like everything else.

Oh, and make sure to add bay leaves to the stock, because some things you’d use stock for, you just can’t add bay leaves to directly.

I’m so confused. I thought the bones had to be clean to do stock or else it was just broth? Someone enlighten me.

Maybe there’s some technical sense in which that’s true, but stock, broth, or a mix of the two are all used for basically the same culinary purposes, so it doesn’t matter much which one you’re actually technically making.

People don’t agree on the difference. Two of my favorite sources are in general agreement, but a quick search will lead you to a flurry of different opinions on the difference.

Alton Brown:

Cook’s Illustrated (paywall):

The Kitchn:

I don’t salt my broth because I salt whatever I make with the broth. If I’m making soup, I’ll salt the soup parts in layers (salt the vegetables as they sweat, etc.). If I’m making gravy, my meat has often been dry or wet brined and the drippings are already salty, and I can adjust while finishing cooking the gravy. If I’m making rice or risotto, I’ll salt during the cooking and the dish will absorb the salt evenly through the cooking process. I don’t wait until the table to salt because I agree that then it’s too late. I guess if making broth to eat right when it’s finished, it would call for salt.