How To: Make Chicken Stock

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Homemade chicken stock is a kitchen project that we firmly believe everyone should try at least once. It's much easier to buy it at Trader Joe's, and we often do this too. But when you have bones left over from a roast chicken, it's so satisfying to use them up and turn out delicious stock for soup.

All you need are chicken bones - ideally with a little meat still on them - and some basic vegetables. We like to take the opportunity to use up gnarled carrots and wilted celery tops too. The end result is invariably delicious and nourishing. Soup made with homemade chicken broth is always just a little extra special! Steps and pics below...

This does take a while, but it's mostly hands off.

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1. Pull apart whatever is left of the chicken carcass. It's good to split small bones apart; this helps the stock jell. Cut up one or two onions, a few stalks of celery, and a couple carrots and pile into a large pot with the chicken pieces. Add a bay leaf, a handful of parsley, a few peppercorns and any other wilting greens you have around - leeks and turnips are good too.

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2. Fill the pot with water and put over high heat.

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3. Bring to a rolling boil then lower the heat. You don't want this to boil briskly; the water should just gurgle, with a few bubbles occasionally hitting the surface.

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4. If a foamy muck comes to the top, skim it off. This is just fat rising to the surface. Don't worry if you can't get all of it. Let simmer for about four hours - or however long you have. Two hours will produce a reasonably good chicken stock, although it is not ideal.

When you are done, remove from the heat and strain out the bones and vegetables, pressing on them to make sure extract all the liquid. Put in the fridge overnight to cool. The next day, skim any congealed fat off the top and discard or save for cooking. Put the stock in quart containers or bags to freeze. This will stay good in the freezer for several months, and good in the fridge for a few days.

Related Links
Good Tip: Stock in the Slow Cooker
Recipe: DIY Vegetable Stock
Easy Kale Soup for One (or Two)
DIY Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.