Chicken Stock

If you’ve never tasted good, homemade chicken stock, you’ll think I’m crazy for drinking it like this. Store-bought chicken stock is gross. It doesn’t look like it should. And it certainly doesn’t taste anything like it’s supposed to. The stock you see here smells and tastes like chicken, with hints of pepper and clove. It’s worth your time. It’s wonderful.

This morning was like any morning I would have had about a year ago, when I was on maternity leave. Gabi is in the middle of her morning nap. On the stove is some delicious Spanish chickpea and chorizo soup for our neighbors, Torie and Steve, who had a baby girl last week. The laundry is running. And I’m taking a few minutes to pamper myself before having to think about going into work later this evening.

I made this chicken stock last month, with bones from two chickens that we’d roasted. Whenever roast a chicken, the bones, neck and back go into a bag and stored in the freezer for stock. For this batch, I used bones from two chickens. This stock is incredibly simple. Some recipes call for browning the bones and veggies. This will make your stock darker and more flavorful, but it’s really not necessary. This stock has plenty of flavor. The key here is to bring the stock JUST to a boil, and then gently simmer it for a few hours. I’ve found that boiling soup destroys it. The same goes for stock.

This is my favorite stock recipe so far, partly for its simplicity and  flavor. I took six cups this morning from the freezer for the soup and reserved a cup for me to enjoy.

Like I said earlier, it TASTES like chicken. It’s better than any cup of coffee, chai or hot tea. At least it was this morning. I closed my eyes and savored each sip. Yum.

Chicken Stock
slightly adapted from Earth to Table

4 pounds chicken bones (necks, backs, breast bones, wings, etc.) or bones from two chickens
8 cups cold water
2 medium yellow onions, halved lengthwise
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
10 whole black peppercorns
2 dried bay leaves
2 whole cloves
2 sprigs fresh thyme

In a large stockpot, combine bones and water. Bring the water JUST to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Skim surface to remove any scum. Stir in onions, carrots, celery, wine, peppercorns, bay leaves, cloves and thyme. Gently simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours.

Remove bones from stock and discard. Strain stock through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a large bowl, pressing vegetables to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard solids. Let stock cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until fat congeals on the surface, about 8 hours. Remove the fat and throw it out.

Transfer to airtight containers and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 4 months.

Makes 6 cups.


2 Responses to “Chicken Stock”

  1. 1 Theo
    February 24, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Yum. But does straining it hurt the flavor and body of the stock at all? A cloudy stock isn’t nearly as pretty, but I wonder if it doesn’t taste richer as well…

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