I am of the firm belief that chicken—and turkey—stock should cost nothing. You’re already using something that would ordinarily be thrown away (the carcass), so why add unnecessary expense with aromatics like onions, carrots and celery?
Enter the stock bag. Most people who make stock regularly probably already have one of these in their freezer, but for those who don’t, this is crucial for lowering the cost of every dish you make that uses stock.
Every time I use something stock-like that would ordinarily go in the compost, I take this bag out of the freezer and throw it in there instead. Onion skins (which, believe it or not, lend a nice chickeny yellow hue to the finished product), celery leaves, carrot peels, shallot tops and bottoms, parsley stems, you name it.
It accumulates over time, and once I procure a poultry carcass, I just dump the bag contents in the pot (or slow-cooker, which I sometimes make stock in if I’m in a hurry) with some water and the carcass and call it a day. The stock tastes amazingly rich and a little different each time, depending on what was in the bag.
In fact, if you want to make vegetable stock, you could accumulate a larger bag’s worth of scraps and omit the poultry carcass altogether.
It can be a little tedious to remember to take the bag out of the freezer each time you cut vegetables, but like most new habits, it just takes a little getting used to. Try it!