Intro: How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock
To be perfectly honest I don’t think I will ever give up the convenience of having a few cans of chicken broth ready and waiting on my pantry shelf. It is a great flavor enhancer that can give quick food a slow cooked taste with very little effort.
Store bought chicken broth is convenient and up till now, it has always been very inexpensive. On a recent visit to the grocery store I was shocked to find that the price of ready-made chicken stock had almost doubled. Leaving me with a bad case of sticker shock and quite dumbfounded as to how boiled chicken parts and water could cost so much?
That’s why I’m heading to the kitchen to teach you how to make a basic chicken stock that you can keep in your freezer. There is no comparison to homemade and I always keep a few quarts of chicken stock in my freezer, some of them lighter and some of them fuller in flavor that I use in different types of cooking.
I suppose you could say that this is a blessing in disguise, because homemade chicken stock is far superior to anything you can get out of a can.
Step 1: Save Your Parts
The first step to making homemade chicken stock is to save your parts! Rinse them in cold water and keep them in your freezer for when you are ready to make chicken stock. I buy whole chickens a lot and cut out the backs, excess skin and wing tips to make stock. My husband loves thighs and wings but has a clear dislike for drumsticks. He claims that the meat is too stringy, so I rarely cook with them and add those to my stock too. For some this might be wasteful, but for me it is a good way to use up that unwanted part of the chicken. If you are not up for saving parts, just buy 4 pounds of parts with bones and some wings or use a whole chicken.
Its interesting... that in this down economy, things that use to go in the trash without a second thought, suddenly find themselves in the pot...
To make a full flavored stock you need some meat, bones and skin. Yes, I said skin, truly isn’t that what wings are??? Not to worry, its purpose is to add flavor to your stock and when you chill your stock all the fat will rise up to the top and solidify for easy removal. Then all that's left, is a pot of fat free chicken stock!
Step 2: Parboil and Rinse
Chinese like to par boil everything. An elder Chinese relative explained the reasoning to me when I was about 10 years old. She told me it was to remove the scum. I’m sure that there is a more eloquent way to describe it, but that is what I was told. So that’s what I do and yes it does tremendously decrease if not eliminate the icky foamy scum, or should I say impurities, that might otherwise float to the surface and need to be skimmed away. In my opinion this is one of the most important steps when making chicken stock to eliminate the skimming part (almost) completely. I do the same thing when I make clear soups, it works like a charm.
Everyone has their own idea about how to flavor their chicken stock. My base ingredients are onion, garlic, celery and carrots. I make my chicken stock very basic so that I can use it in any dish. Then when I’m cooking with the stock I add other ingredients to make it match the dish, such as thyme, bay leaves, parsley or dill.
This is something that you need to keep in mind…
You can make as little or as much stock as you desire. The basic process is to cover the parts with water by about two inches over along with veggies and spices of your choice. Then let it simmer uncovered for about 4 – 8 hours. So don’t feel like you need to make a gallon or none at all.
Step 3: Add All the Ingredients and Let Cook Low and Slow
Wash the pot and put chicken, vegetables and seasonings back into the pot. Cover everything with cold tap water plus an additional two inches. Bring it to a gentle boil; Lower heat and simmer uncovered for 4 – 8 hours. Strain through a fine mesh strainer and toss out the solids. Refrigerate overnight. The next day remove the sheet of solid fat and pack the fat free broth in containers and freeze.
Step 4: Recipe
HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK
4 pounds chicken parts, bones, carcass, wing tips, skin…
1 gal. Water, enough water to cover everything plus 2 inches more
1 med onion, quartered
2 med carrots, cut in to large chunks
2 stalks celery or tops and stem, cut into large chunk
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. whole peppercorns