Chicken stock is one of those things that seems like it could be a little intimidating but really it’s quite easy if you know a couple of tricks. I’ll admit, it can be a little tedious to make as it does need a long simmer time to really let the flavors develop.
But like most things that take time, the payoff is totally worth it and it can really make a difference between a good dish and a great one. To simplify things, I think it helps to think of stock as water that you want to just nail with as much flavor as possible. The flavor comes from a low and long simmering of roasted chicken, crisp, earthy vegetables and fresh herbs to whatever else you can dream up. Making your own stock also gives you a great opportunity to flavor things just the way you want to for whatever you plan to use it for is. Additionally, while stock might be a lot of work, it freezes beautifully in large quantities to use as a base for a quick soup or can be frozen into ice cube trays to easily add an extra layer of flavor to sauces.
Before you get started with your stock, there are some things that you’ll want to consider beforehand. When I make stock, I like to keep it pretty basic so that I can use it for lots of dishes, rather than being limited to one flavor, thus limiting the dishes you can make. But you’ll want to think about what you want to use the stock for. Whatever it is you add, remember that you have one goal: get the most flavor out of the ingredients. For a basic stock, I use the following:
Homemade Chicken Stock
|Meal type||Carrots, Chicken, Parsley|
- 1 Chicken Carcass
- 1 large onion, roughly diced
- 4-5 carrots, roughly diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 4-5 parsley stems
- 1 bay leaf
|1||You can roast the carcass bones first to get more flavor. Just be careful to keep an eye on it, if the bones burn, your stock is going to be toast.|
|2||Sautéing the vegetables up in a bit of olive oil first helps to bring out the flavors.|
|3||Once you add the carcass to the stock pot, only fill the water up to just cover the bones.|
|4||Never let the stock come to a boil. A steady, slow simmer is key for a clearer stock, skim off the scum that forms on the top.|
|5||Let the stock simmer for about 3-6 hours. Don't go past 6 hours, the stock can get cloudy.|
|6||Strain it by running it through a fine mesh strainer. You'll get a clearer broth . Let it sit, scrape off top layer of fat. Chill or freeze immediately|
All in all, while a little time consuming, there’s something sort of relaxing about curling up with a giant pot of stock bubbling away and making your whole house (or small Boston apartment in my case) smell delightfully comforting. There’s nothing better than homemade. Nothing.