Chicken Stock

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Some folks wonder how we get so much chicken stock.  The quick answer:  I make it.   It’s cheaper and better than anything you can find in a can or box.  While homemade chicken stock is great for recipes, it also makes for a terrific hot beverage.  I’ve even taken a thermos of it to work on occasion.

The longer answer is that it all starts with Sunday dinner, which is often roasted chicken.  I roast two.  We eat one for dinner.   The other is used in other recipes and even lunches for the week.  Stock is made from the remaining bones, scraps, drippings, and any leftover veggie scraps (typically carrot, celery, and onion ends along with any parsley that no longer looks pretty and fresh).  The following recipe outlines quantities for fresh vegetables, but I usually have enough scraps accumulated in the freezer to be used in stocks.

If there is no time to make the stock within a day or two, I’ll freeze the bones, scraps, and any juices and gelatin that remain in the roasting pan for later use.

Hint:  you know those juices that remain in the pan?  A lot of that is gelatin — broken down collagen.  It’s good for you!  If you want an extra special pre-dinner treat, take a crusty chunk of bread and give it a good dip in all those juices.

Back to the stock…

If you aren’t going to be home for a 6-hour span of time while the stock simmers, another option is to use a pressure cooker.  Pressure cookers seem to do an exceptional job of extracting gelatin from the bones, making for a very rich broth.  It only takes 1 1/2 hours and the results are fantastic!

This isn’t a recipe that’s fussy.  No frequent monitoring is required.  We’re just boiling bones with a few aromatics.  Soups, gravies, braises, and even things like chicken and dumplings are much more hassle-free when you can simply pull a container of stock out of the freezer.

Enjoy!

Chicken Stock

Chicken Stock

Notes: Often, I'll collect celery and carrot trimmings, storing them in the freezer until it's time to make a batch of stock.

Consider saving the chicken fat that gets skimmed off of the stock after it has been refrigerated. Chicken fat is excellent for roasted potatoes -- and especially matzo balls!

Ingredients

  • Chicken bones from one chicken
  • 8 cups of cold water
  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 leak, thickly sliced - white and light green parts only
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 sprigs parsley

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a stock pot. Gently simmer on low for 6 hours. Strain with a fine mesh strainer.
  2. If using a pressure cooker, place all ingredients in the pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 90 minutes, using a natural release.
  3. Cool. Then refrigerate overnight.
  4. Skim solidified fat off the top.
  5. Use within a week or freeze for future use.
  6. Salt to taste before using.
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