Whenever I have homemade chicken stock in the freezer, I feel happy. I like starting with a base of nothing but chicken wings, which have the perfect ratio of meat to bone and which respectively contribute flavor and body to the stock. And give yourself some time to do it right. If you make the stock one day and chill it overnight, the fat will rise to the top and solidify, making it very easy to scoop off (You’ll then want to freeze the fat, which has great flavor, for special occasions, like making matzo balls.) After scooping off the fat, you will need to boil down the stock to concentrate its flavor. When it has cooled down, you can divide it into several resealable plastic bags and freeze it.
By the way, I think I’ve finally figured out what makes Jewish chicken soup so special (aside from the fact that it is made by Jewish mothers and grandmothers). Watching my mother-in-law make her soup one day, I saw her add a parsnip. I have been doing the same ever since.
- 5 pounds chicken wings, rinsed and patted dry
- 2 medium onions, quartered
- 2 small carrots, halved
- 2 celery ribs, halved
- 2 small parsnips, halved
- 1 bay leaf, preferably Turkish
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 8 fresh parsley stems
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried
Place the chicken wings in a large stockpot and pour in enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, skimming the scum that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, skimming often, for 20 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 2½ hours.
Strain the stock, cool slightly, and skim off the fat that rises to the top. (Alternatively, chill in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the fat that accumulates on the surface.) Return the stock to the stockpot and bring to a strong simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer until the liquid has reduced by one third to concentrate the flavor.
Nutritional information is based on the entire recipe.