Don't let anyone tell you otherwise: making your own chicken stock is a snap. You don't need to fret about exact quantities of vegetables or hoarding chicken bones in your freezer. You can make stock as soon as you finish roasting a bird using whatever vegetables are in your fridge. No matter what, it's guaranteed to beat anything you buy at the store!
What You Need
Bones and carcass from one roasted chicken
3-4 stalks of celery
2 bay leaves
4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
6-8 parsley stems
Optional Extras - whole garlic cloves, fennel fronds, leek tops, whole pepper corns
Pot big enough to hold the chicken and vegetables, typically 4-6 quarts
1. Use your fingers or kitchen shears to pull the chicken carcass into a few pieces that will fit snugly in your pot.
2. Put the chicken bones in a pot and cover them with water by about an inch. Simmer on very low heat for 2-6 hours. You should just see a few bubbles here and there, a little movement in the liquid, and bit of steam over the pot. Add more water if the bones start to become exposed. Ideal temperature is between 180° and 190°.
3. Peel and roughly chop all of your veggies. The quantities given above are approximate, so use what you have.
4. Skim off any foam or film that has floated to the top of the stock. This isn't strictly necessary, but it will make your stock look and taste more clean.
5. Add the vegetables and herbs. Add more water if necessary to cover. Simmer for another hour or two at the same heat.
6. Strain the stock to separate out the solid pieces. Discard the solids. (If you'd like a clearer broth, strain it again through cheese cloth.)
7. Let the stock cool, then separate into portion-sized containers. Refrigerate stock for up to a week or freeze it indefinitely.
• Alternatively, you can cover the pot and put it in a 200° oven. You can also use a slow cooker on one of its lowest settings.
• We'll say it again: the amount and kinds of vegetables given above are just a guideline. Use what you have and your stock will still be great.
• If it fits in your pot, you can cook the stock inside the pasta strainer insert. This makes the job of separating the solids a cinch.
• You can double or triple the recipe depending on how many chicken carcasses you have.
• This recipe makes roughly 1 quart of stock.
(Images: Emma Christensen)