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Total time: half-day
Skill level: Easy
Cost: Inexpensive
Yield: Makes 6 cups
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This is the stock to use for making soups, it is pale in color, yet rich with flavor and gelatin, which will give soups good body. It is so easy to prepare, and makes such a difference to homemade soups, there is really no excuse not to have some in the freezer.


  • 7 to 8 pounds raw chicken backs, necks, and giblets (but not the liver)
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 large yellow onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 1 head of garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves


1. Pull off as much of the fat and skin from the backs and necks as possible. Combine the chicken, carrots, onion, and garlic in a 5-quart stockpot. Pour in enough cold water to cover the chicken by 1 inch (about 3 quarts). Heat over high heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and boil 5 minutes. Skim all the foam and fat that rise to the surface.

2. Adjust the heat to a bare simmer–1 or 2 bubbles rising to the surface at a time. Simmer until the bones fall apart when poked with a fork, about 8 hours. Check the pot occasionally, skimming the foam and fat as it rises to the surface, and adding water as needed to keep the bones submerged.

3. Ladle the stock through a sieve lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel into a bowl. Quickly cool to room temperature. Refrigerate, uncovered, until completely chilled and a layer of firm fat forms on top.

4. Remove the fat from the surface. Render the chicken fat, if desired (see box). Warm the stock over low heat and ladle into 1-cup storage containers with tight-fitting lids. Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Heat to a boil before using.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving

19kcal (1%)
4mg (0%)
1mg (1%)
88mcg RAE (3%)
4mg (1%)
10mg (0%)
0g (2%)
1g (2%)
0mg (0%)