I simply make a broth rather than a stock. This allows me more versatility as I can flavor owever I want when I use the broth. The difference between the stock and broth is that the stock has other flavors besides just the chicken flavor.
Also, I break the bones to release the marrow and throw in chicken wing ends that I have saved and frozen.
The gelled consistancy when cold is a good indicator that you have dissolved the collagen (a nutritious cousin to protien that is found in connecting tissues and cartillage, it's what gellatin is made from) from the carcass. And the marrow adds both nutritional value and flavor as well. If you add an acidic veggie, like celery root, to the simmering broth, it helps extract all of the goodness from the carcass.
After the broth has cooked for several hours (or an hour in a pressure cooker), strain and place in the fridge. When cold, the liquid should be gelled and you can simply lift and scrape the hardened fat from off the top. You are now ready to divide the broth into portions and freeze or use.
If you brown ground beef with a lid on the pan, you can pour off the accumulated juices and refrigerate. Then, as with the chicken broth, simply lift the fat off and freeze the gelled beef broth. This stuff makes wonderful gravies, au-jus, soups, etc. It tastes like it has come from a slow-roasted chuck roast and is delicious. After pouring off the meat juices, simply finish browning the grond beef and use in your sloppy joes, or spaghetti, or whatever you were cooking it for.
And of course, you can do the same thing with beef bones, ham hocks, pork bones, etc.
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