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As a cook, I have an assortment of recipes which I consider to be my core basic, essential recipes that I always fall back on. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re quick or easy to prepare; it just means they’re the staples that elevate so many of my favorite dishes that I cook semi-regularly.
You're going to want to file this recipe away for use later on. Trust me.
Chicken stock is one of those things that I go through a ton of when I’m making risotto, soups and sauces (among other things.) While it’s easy to run to the grocery store and buy it pre-made, I much prefer the flavor of homemade stock (and I think my family does, too.)
If you’ve ever had chicken noodle soup made with homemade stock, you already know the difference. You’re not reaching for tons of salt and pepper to improve the flavor of your soup.
Most chicken stock recipes call for simply using wings and tips, but one afternoon when I just didn’t have the energy to cut the chicken into pieces and that went out the window; which looking back was a good thing. True, whole chickens can be expensive but the final product is worth the investment and I recommend stocking up on whole chickens when they go on sale (woohoo, .79 cents per pound for a chicken this week!)—simply toss the ones you won’t be using in the next day or two into the freezer.
- 5 pound chicken, giblets and breasts removed (use the breasts for something else.) I like to slash the thighs and legs for more flavor.
- 2 large carrots cut into large chunks (2” at least)
- 2 large leeks cut into large chunks (2”, white and light green parts only)
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled cleaned and cut into fourths
- 1 celery stalk, leaves removed and cut into large chunks (2” at least)
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- enough water to completely cover the chicken
- Place the chicken in a deep stockpot that holds the chicken comfortably. Add the water. Bring to a simmer over high heat and skim the foam. Stir under the chicken to allow the foam to rise. Reduce the heat and just keep skimming, keep skimming.
- Add the vegetables and herbs and slowly bring the liquid back to a simmer, skimming frequently. Once the stock has an intense chicken flavor, usually about 4 hours, turn off the heat and allow the stock to rest for 10 minutes.
- Prepare an ice bath.
- Transfer the stock to a container, straining the liquid through a mesh sieve or colander. Don’t try to force anything through that didn’t strain on it’s own, otherwise the stock will be cloudy. Boo cloudy stock.
- Place the container in the ice bath to cool the stock quickly. Stir occasionally until there is no longer any steam rising from container. The stock can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (or canned), or freeze for longer storage.