Really good chicken stock

If you want really delicious chicken stock (or broth or bone broth, same thing (no matter what some people tell you), the kind you can just drink from a cup and that makes great soups and sauces, forget about using table scraps and bones. The flavor is in the meat, and you need lots of meat to make good stock. I wait for sales when I can get whole legs for a good price, then make a bunch of stock and freeze it. Wings will work too, but with the chicken wing craze they are hard to find on sale. If you can get feet and/or necks, add them too. This recipe requires a large pot, and can be halved if needed. You’ll get about 8 quarts of stock from this.

Some chicken stock recipes get too complicated for me. You have to brown the chicken, or use old stewing hens, and so on. These recipes may give great results, but my idea was a simple process that would give you great stock without too much fuss. So, here we go.

12 whole chicken legs or equivalent in wings
2 medium onions, halved (don’t bother to peel)
2 large or 3 small stalks celery cut in large chunks
2 large carrots in chunks
5 whole unpeeled garlic cloves cut in half
10 whole peppercorns
2 tsp salt
5 bay leaves

Put everything in your stock pot and cover by about an inch with good quality water. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium low heat – this will take a while. Or to save time, heat on high until hot, then reduce heat. For clear stock it is essential that the liquid never boil, as that incorporates fat into the liquid and makes it cloudy–just use a gentle simmer. And gentle means gentle with a bubble or two coming to the surface every few seconds. Stir once in a while–after a couple of hours the chicken will be falling apart. Continue simmering for another hour or two or three, adding water as needed to keep the chicken submerged.

Let cool for a while then use a spider, slotted spoon, or tongs to remove most of the solids. You’ll have a lot of meat that is essentially tasteless. If you pick it off the bones your dog or cat might like it, otherwise discard.

There will be a layer of fat on top of the liquid. Skim most of it off and save for other uses, such as sautéing potatoes, or discard. Not down the drain, though, where it can solidify and cause a clog. 

Strain the stock through a fine-meshed strainer. For best clarity strain again thru cheesecloth. It’s now ready to use or freeze.

If the chicken has rendered a lot of fat, you are in luck. Skim it off the stock and strain it, if necessary. You now have schmaltz, great for sautéing potatoes and a host of other uses. Store in the fridge.

Explore posts in the same categories: Miscellaneous, Poultry, Soups

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