Homemade Chicken Stock

Friday, November 13, 2015

The flavor from homemade stock is more robust than store-bought and very economical. It's also free of all the excess salt, sugar and other additives. This recipe will make a basic, unsalted all-purpose chicken stock. You can experiment with adding other herbs and vegetable scraps such as rosemary, sage, onion tops, leeks, fennel stalks or mushrooms. I usually keep my stock as simple as possible so that it can be used in any recipe. Roasted chicken bones yield a darker, stronger flavored stock than uncooked bones, but either will work. I freeze any carcasses, back bones and wing tips from the
chickens I cook. About once a month, I have enough scraps to make a pot of chicken stock. If you’re preparing for Thanksgiving, it wouldn’t hurt to practice your roasting technique on chickens before you roast a bigger turkey. You’ll be left with extra bones to make your stock! You can substitute turkey bones in this recipe if you have them, but your gravy will be just fine using chicken stock. Just add drippings from your turkey on Thanksgiving day.

Note: Stock can be prepared in a slow cooker on the low setting. Adjust cooking time as needed.

Homemade Chicken Stock

4 lbs chicken bones
2 carrots
2 celery sticks
1 large onion, halved
2 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp celery seed
1 garlic clove
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley
A few thyme sprigs
5 quarts water

Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: Up to 4 hours
Yield: Makes about 4 quarts
Special Equipment: Large stock pot or slow cooker

Place bones in a large stock pot. Top with remaining ingredients. Add cold water to cover; about 5 quarts. Simmer for 2 to 3 hours over medium low heat. Skim surface occasionally of any foam or residue. The stock does not need to boil. 

In the last hour (or after all meat is fully cooked) you can begin to taste test to decide how strongly flavored you want your stock. The longer it simmers it will become more concentrated but also darker. 

Once stock is adequately flavored, turn off heat and allow it to cool enough to handle safely. Ladle stock through a fine mesh sieve into mason jars or freezer safe containers, discarding solids. Seal tightly and use within 2 weeks if refrigerated, or within a couple months if frozen. Excess fat can be easily skimmed from the top of chilled stock prior to using.

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