- Skill Level: Easy
- Cost: Inexpensive
- Favorited: 19 Times
Can be made ahead of time.
Aside from being extremely easy to make, homemade chicken stock is better than anything you can buy. And while chicken stock can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, or frozen, the aroma and purity of a freshly made broth is fleeting, best savored the same day it is made. Ideally, use the meatiest bones available—an assortment of backs, necks, and carcasses works well, and is inexpensive. These meaty parts make the best chicken stock, as opposed to using only bones, which do not impart much flavor, or yield a bony flavor at best. (We use whole chickens for stock.) The home cook might also consider removing the breasts from two chickens, reserving them for a meal, and using the remaining legs, wings, and meaty bones for a rich, flavorful stock.
Cover the chicken parts with 3½ quarts cold water in a large stainless steel stockpot and bring to a boil. When the stock comes to a full boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer and skim off the gray foam that rises to the surface. Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsley, thyme, bay, and salt. (If you plan to make a reduction, salt the stock more sparingly—it will become saltier as it reduces.) Cook gently for 3 hours, until the broth tastes rich and is a light golden color. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth. Allow the stock to cool completely; skim the fat and promptly refrigerate. The stock is ready to use as is, or may be reduced to create a glaze or sauce.
Variation: For a brown stock, roast the chicken parts and vegetables in a 450°F, oven until nicely caramelized, about 30 minutes. Deglaze the roasting pan with a little red wine, and add a little crushed tomato to the pot.
Nutritional information is based on 12 servings.
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