Admittedly, this isn’t the sexiest post. Chicken stock is sort of the unsung hero of every sauce, soup, or recipe that calls for the addition of stock. When you make stock, you aren’t ever going to get the big WOW factor that we home cooks live for but you will take your cooking to a whole new level. Seriously, it’s one of those things that is so easy and makes such a big difference in your cooking. The reason is that stock is an essential building block of flavor and single handedly changes the way your recipe will turnout. Truly, the effort you go to for homemade stock is well worth it.
Making chicken stock is not difficult. It’s actually incredibly easy and doesn’t take a lot of work or expense. It always surprises me that more people don’t do it. While it does take a few hours, once all of the ingredients are in the pot, you just need to keep an eye on it to make sure the simmer is low enough. A traditional, basic stock is simply putting bones, mirepoix (carrot, celery, onion), and bouquet garni (herbs, bay leaf, whole peppercorn) in a stockpot and covering with cold water. Let it simmer, strain, cool, and store. That’s it! It’s the perfect thing to do on a day when you are going to be home for a few hours.I love making stock on football Sunday or when one of the kids is home sick.
I learned in culinary school not to use the entire chicken in my stock. The bones give us all of that delicious flavor and it’s an expensive shame to waste all of that beautiful meat. I buy my organic bones from the butcher and ask him to rinse them. You want to get the gunk off of the bones and I get creeped out by washing chicken at home. Also, don’t forget to save the carcass when you roast chicken. Those bones are packed with flavor and are perfect for stock. If you aren’t making stock for awhile, you can always store the carcass in the freezer.
Now that we have established that homemade stock blows boxed stock away and that it is the easiest thing to make, let’s do this. Let’s make stock!
- 5 lb. organic chicken bones (backs, necks and wings)
- 1 - 1½ yellow onion, unpeeled and quartered
- 2-3 carrots, unpeeled and halved
- 3-4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
- 2-3 cloves garlic, smashed in its peel
- 3-4 sprigs flat leaf parsley
- 4-5 sprigs thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 6 quarts cold water (or enough to cover everything)
- Place rinsed bones, vegetables, herbs, bay leaf, and peppercorn in stock pot. Cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Lower heat and let simmer about 3 hours. Gently skim foam that comes to surface.
- Strain, cool, and chill in refrigerator over night. The next day, remove fat from surface. Store in labeled containers.
*Remember this is a low simmer and not a boil. My simmer for stock looks like bubbles slowly breaking through the surface.
*Stock will keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days and in the freezer up to 3 months.
*I store stock in labeled quart containers so I know the exact amount in each container. That way, I defrost only what I need and don't waste stock.