I’ve become a total convert to homemade chicken stock. Contrary to what you’re probably thinking, it’s really not hard at all — and it not only gives you amazing stock instead of the “eh” canned/boxed version, you also get a delicious, tender chicken out of it.
I had a lot of trouble picking a recipe for this. Do a little research and you’ll see that everyone has their own way of doing it — some use just chicken bones, others use a whole chicken and still others use just wings/legs. I figured it was most reasonable (also, easier!) to just use a whole chicken, since you can use the cooked meat afterwards for some sort of delicious meal. It worked out really well.
I froze the stock in one- and two-cup portions, which makes it easy when you’re using a recipe that calls for a certain amount. They don’t take long to thaw in the fridge or just stick them in a bowl of lukewarm water and it thaws in no time. It made 9 cups total. Not too shabby!
- For some reason the grocery store sold only chickens in the 5 pound range; just adjust the goodies you add in to make up for it — more onion, couple more celery stalks, etc.
- Before you strain the stock, use a slotted spoon to remove the big pieces of vegetable. Then take out the chicken. Careful! It will be so tender it will fall apart. Use a couple of big spoons and make the transfer quickly.
- Refrigerate the strained stock overnight so the fat has time to settle on the top. Skim it off the next morning and pack the stock in measured increments.
- If you want to concentrate the flavor more, put the strained stock back on the stove and boil it for a little while longer.
- Once the chicken cools, take the meat off the bone and shred it. Use it in soup or another recipe that calls for cooked or rotisserie chicken. I used it in chicken/sweet potato quesadillas…post to come on that!
Homemade Chicken Stock
- 1 whole free-range chicken (about 3½ pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded
- 2 carrots, cut in large chunks
- 3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
- 2 large white onions, quartered
- 1 head of garlic, halved
- 1 turnip, halved
- ¼ bunch fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1½ hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.
Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.