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Chicken Stock

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

I understand that most people are going to reach for a can of chicken stock on a weeknight (and yes, let’s be honest, even on a weekend). But I am hoping that one weekend, when you have a little time on your hands, you’ll plan ahead and pick up some chicken wings and the appropriate vegetables at the supermarket, and make a batch of the homemade stuff. The flavor is superior, and because it is made with chicken and bones, it contains gelatin, which contributes body to any recipe you put it in. I have tried boiling down several brands of canned stock to see what happens. If they had actually been made from bones, the liquid would eventually become very viscous. Instead, I can boil the broth down until it disappears, and poof, there is nothing left in the pan. My theory is that they simmered water and chicken fat to come up with the flavor in canned stock and then removed the fat. I don’t know how else they got chicken flavor in there. I like to use chicken wings because they have equal parts of chicken (flavor), bones (gelatin), and fat in the form of skin (more flavor)—more of all three put together than any other part of the chicken. You will be very happy to have it on hand. We refer to it as liquid gold. This stock will keep for three days in the refrigerator or a few months in the freezer.

Total preparation time: 3½ hours

Approximately8 cups

Preparation Time10 min

Preparation Time - Text10 minutes

Cooking Methodslow cooking

CostModerate

Easy

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

One Pot MealYes

Taste and Textureherby, savory

Type of Dishstock

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds chicken wings
  • 2 medium onions, quartered
  • 2 small carrots, halved
  • 2 celery stalks, halved
  • 4 rinsed and dried fresh flatleaf parsley sprigs
  • 2 rinsed and dried fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 Turkish bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Instructions

Rinse the chicken wings. Put them in a stockpot and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring the mixture just to a boil over high heat, skimming and discarding the surface skim with a slotted spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, skimming frequently, for 20 minutes.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns;simmer for 2½ hours. Strain the stock and skim off all the fat that rises to the surface. (Alternatively, cool the stock and refrigerate it overnight. The fat will harden on top of the stock and is much easier to remove.)

Return the stock to the pot and simmer until reduced by one-third, about 30 minutes. Divide the stock among several resealable plastic bags and freeze it.

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Sounds like a pretty standard stock recipe, except for using chicken wings instead of a variety of cuts. Around here (central Iowa), wings are running about $3/pound, which means this stock costs at least $7.50 per quart. Also, with the skin:bone:meat ratio of wings, won't the result be awfully fatty? I think a mix of chicken parts would be more economical and potentially more flavorful.

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