Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to Make Chicken Stock

There are lots of ways for making chicken stock, and then there’s the right way – the way that lets you use whatever you have. Rather than telling you that you absolutely need celery, onions, carrots, parsnips (what are those, anyway?) leeks and a bay leaf to make your own chicken stock, I’m going to tell you that really, all you need is a chicken. To be specific, one chicken carcass (as in, the remainder of the roast chicken you made for dinner last night).

Now, if you happen to have some uneaten vegetables and aromatics left in the roasting pan, those can be used as well. But for the love of all that’s holy, do not run out and buy those ingredients. Take advantage of a leftover roast chicken meal to make your own chicken stock, and whatever you don’t use for your chicken noodle soup can be frozen for up to several months. If you try to make your own stock any other time – well, dare I say you have too much time on your hands. Here’s my easy how to make chicken stock recipe:

Homemade Chicken Stock

1 cooked chicken (freshly roasted whole chicken or leftover chicken carcass)
2 quarts water
Vegetables and/or aromatics if available and desired: onions, celery, carrots and garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Place entire chicken carcass into large pot and pour in water, then add vegetables if desired. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer with lid tilted. Simmer for two hours or until chicken easily falls off bones. Remove from heat. Remove carcass from pot with tongs. Shred chicken off of carcass with fork. If using stock for chicken noodle soup, return the shredded chicken to the pot. If using stock for other recipes, set chicken aside and store in airtight container.

Strain out solids (vegetables and chicken fat) with a slotted spoon or through a colander. If using stock immediately for soup, vegetables can be left in if desired but the fat should still be skimmed off (another option is to refrigerate the stock overnight and skim the fat off the top once it has hardened and risen to the top. If choosing this option, reheat the stock for use).

Once the fat is strained out, the stock is ready for use. Making your own chicken stock is the ideal solution for those who need things to do with leftover chicken, and it's worth its weight in gold when you consider its endless uses: chicken soup, gravy liquid, sauce enhancers, automotive lubricants, dog shampoo. Have fun making your own chicken stock, and be sure to tell people you do it so they feel pitifully inferior to you in the kitchen. 

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