Why bother making homemade chicken stock when there are so many respectable versions at the supermarket? Flavor, of course. At the end of the day the stock you pour out of a can or a box just can’t touch the stock you make at home. The difference is gelatin, which adds unbeatable body to a stock. Gelatin come into a stock from the long, slow simmering of bones. Homemade has it. Store-bought doesn’t. You can see for yourself if you ever boil them down side by side. A homemade stock becomes thick and viscous, its flavor very concentrated. A store-bought stock simply disappears into thin air. (Makes you wonder what the heck it’s made from in the first place.)
Of course, I’m not a snob and I’m not a purist. I use good store-bought chicken stock or broth all the time. But for a special occasion--let’s say I’m making matzo ball soup for Passover--I start from scratch with chicken wings. It’s part of what makes the occasion special.
Chicken stock freezes beautifully and can be stored in the freezer (I use 1-cup containers for convenience) for up to 6 months.
- 5 pounds chicken wings
- 2 medium onions
- 2 small carrots
- 2 medium celery stalks
- 4 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
- 2 fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 Turkish bay leaf
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Put the chicken wings in a large stockpot and add enough cold water to cover them by 2 inches. Bring the mixture just to a boil over high heat, skimming the surface with a slotted spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low immediately and simmer, skimming frequently, for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, quarter the onions and halve the carrots and celery. Add to the stockpot along with the parsley, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf. Return the mixture just to a boil over high heat; reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 2½ hours.
3. Strain the stock through a colander into a bowl and discard the solids. Skim off all the fat that rises to the surface of the stock. (Or let the stock cool and refrigerate it overnight. The fat will harden on top of the stock and is much easier to remove.)
4. Return the stock to the pot and simmer until reduced by one-third, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Nutritional information is based on 8 servings and 1/8 teaspoon of added salt.