My niece wants to start making her own stocks and asked me how her grandmother made them. It was a funny question because I have no memories of my mother using anything but boxed stocks. But like I’ve said many times I have no idea what actually happened in the kitchen I grew up in. I just ate the food.
I wanted to be able to help my niece with a simple method for making great homemade chicken stock. So, I spent a morning writing down my method and some reasons that make it worth taking the time to do.
Making your own stock whether it be chicken, vegetable or beef seems like a bit of a lost art. After-all it’s pretty convenient to pick some up at the local grocery store. So, why bother?
I’ve got a couple reasons for making stock from scratch.
What it isn’t, is fast.
But, you don’t need to babysit it all day either. I do suggest that you check on it every half hour or so, to skim off any foam (aka scum) that floats to the top. Although you can skip this part, I encourage you to do it. The result will be a clear stock that has awesome flavour.
I pick a day that I am puttering around the kitchen. In about 3 hours a flavourful stock that can be used in everything from soups, to pasta dishes to risotto’s is ready.
I like to use the carcass of whole chicken leftover from dinner the night before. This makes a flavourful and full bodied stock. The bonus is, nothing goes in the green bin.
You can freeze the carcasses from several dinners and make a large batch of stock at once, this cuts down on your time. I prefer to make a small batch from just one or two chickens. I find it easier this way, mostly because I forget that I have chicken bones in the freezer!
I chop the carcass into smaller pieces so they release their gelatin, which adds body to the stock quicker than tossing the carcass in one piece, into the pot. I think I started cutting the bones into smaller chunks because I didn’t have a pot big enough for the whole chicken in one piece, and realized the stock was ready faster and had a better texture.
Place the chicken bones in a large pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 1 to 1.5 hours. The bones should come apart when lightly pressed with a wooden spoon. I start checking at an hour, it doesn’t usually take more than 2 hours.
Add vegetables and aromatics. I use 50% onions, 25% carrots, 25% celery. Today I had some leeks I wanted to use up so I cut back on the amount of onions. Add a bit of parsley, a clove of garlic, a couple twigs of thyme, a couple bay leaves and some peppercorns.
After you add the vegetables and seasoning simmer away. Don’t stir the vegetables and bones just let them hang out together. Around 30 minutes start tasting the stock. It should have a chicken flavour (no longer a watery taste) and be nice and fresh. You want to catch it before gets a murky, flat flavour. This is the part that takes a bit of practice, just trust your own taste buds.
I don’t add any salt to the stock. Whatever seasonings are used in the stock will be carried over into the dish you are using it in. I add salt to whatever I am making with the stock, then I don’t need to worry that the pasta or soup will be too salty.
Remove from the heat and strain the broth, discard the bones, the meat and vegetables. Just let it strain, don’t push on it, this will cause the stock to be cloudy.
Let rest for 15 - 30 minutes. Remove the fat that has risen to the top. Refrigerate for 1 week or freeze up to 3 months.
This batch yielded 10 cups of stock from 2 chicken carcasses.
Use in your favourite dishes that call for chicken stock or try my seafood linguine, cream of broccoli soup or this turkey risotto.
Click here to eHomemade Chicken Stock
Prep Time : 3hours
1 -2 two Chicken Carcasses
2 celery stalks
2 carrots (large)
3 bay leaves
1 clove garlic
4 sprigs thyme
8 sprigs parsley
Chop chicken carcasses into smaller chunks. Place in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer about 1 -1.5 hours until the bones can be broken apart easily with a wooden spoon. Every 30 minutes check for foam that forms on the top of the water and remove.
Cut vegetables into chunks. The above measurements are approximate. Aim for 50% onion, 25% carrots and 25% celery. Don’t stir the pot after you’ve added the vegetables.
Simmer for another 30 minutes to an hour. Check the flavour every 20 minutes or so. When the stock has a chicken flavour and is not longer watery it is done.
Strain and reserve the liquid. Discard the chicken bones, vegetables and aromatics. Remove the fat that accumulates on the top of the stock.
Cool 15- 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator for 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months
Trish is the top spoon at