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Chicken Stock Recipe

Chicken Stock Recipe

Stock is an age old classic that forms the basis of many delicious soups and adds flavor and nutrition to countless other dishes.  Stock is a very nourishing food and provides a wealth of vitamins and minerals in a highly digestible form.  In generations past, homemade stock was a kitchen staple and formed an important part of many families’ diets.  It’s delicious, nutritious and cheap.  But few people make their own stock any more.  Perhaps we’re too busy.  Or perhaps we just never learned how.  While it’s true that stock takes a while to cook, it’s actually very easy to make and the hands on time is minimal.  Plus it freezes well and can be made in bulk.  So get your stock pot out and get ready for some old fashioned goodness:)

Chicken Stock

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken or 3-4 lbs of meaty bones such as a chicken carcass, legs, wings, neck, giblets, etc.
  • Cold water – roughly a gallon or so
  • 2 T vinegar
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut in half
  • 2 ribs of celery, cut in half
  • 1 onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional – fresh parsley (and/or other herbs of choice)

Directions:

  • Place the chicken in a large pot and fill with cold water.  If you want a more flavorful stock, just barely cover the chicken.  For a lighter broth, or for larger quantities, add a couple more inches of water.  Add 2 T of vinegar to the water – this helps draw additional minerals out of the bones.
  • Bring the water to a boil (high heat is fine for this step).  As soon as it boils turn the heat down to a gentle simmer (usually low or medium low).  Skim off and discard any scum that rises to the surface.
  • Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.   Simmer uncovered for about 4 hours.  If you want a more intense stock you can simmer it the entire day (I’ve done up to 12 hours) but this extended time is optional and not necessary for a great stock.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste (it takes a surprising amount of salt)
  • Optional – for some added flavor and nutrients, simmer fresh parsley or other herbs for 15 minutes before serving. I usually use a small bunch of parsley or a few sprigs of thyme.
  • Strain the stock through a colander and use immediately or cool and store for later use.

Note:

  • This recipe is just a guideline – feel free to change the vegetable quantities or use whatever other veggies you have on hand.  Sometimes we keep a bag in the freezer where we toss veggie scraps and meat bones throughout the week.  Once it gets big enough we toss the hodge podge into the stock pot and it always tastes great.
  • If you want a very clear stock, strain it a second time through a cheese cloth
  • Allow the stock to cool uncovered in the refrigerator before storing.  As it cools, the fat will rise to the top and solidify – this is good. Stock stored with fat keeps its flavor better and stays fresher longer.   When you use the stock you can lift the fat right off the top.
  • When the stock is completely cooled, cover the container(s) and store in the fridge or freezer.  I usually use 1 quart mason jars or plastic soup containers (like the ones you get from chinese take out).
  • Stock will last about a week in the fridge and 3-4 months in the freezer.
  • This recipe can also be made with other meats such as turkey or beef.  Try to use pieces that contain both meat and bones (marrow bones are great for beef stock).  When simmering keep the water level just above the bones and add a little water if it dips below.

Photo Credit: 24. Steaming pot of soup — have to show the steam and the soup, a photo by nsossen on Flickr.

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