Recipe first, tidbits second. Enjoy!Print
The Only Chicken Stock Recipe You’ll Ever Need
Made from a collection of chicken and vegetable scraps, this chicken stock is as economical as it is wholesomely delicious. The rich, layered flavors make the perfect base for a wide variety of dishes ranging from rice to soups to chicken pot pie. Make it with leftover roast chicken carcasses or raw chicken bones (both work fabulously) but be warned, once you make your own homemade chicken stock you’ll wonder why you ever bothered to buy it from the store.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 1/4 hours
- Yield: 10 cups 1x
- Category: Soup
- Method: Stove
- Cuisine: American
- 1 gallon bag vegetable scraps
- 1 whole roast chicken carcass or 1 raw chicken spine and wings*
- 12 1/2 cups water
*Feel free to add more chicken meat and bones, this is just a minimum.
- Place vegetable scraps and chicken in large dutch oven or stock pot. Cover with water and simmer for 4 hours over low heat.
- Remove mixture from heat and strain out liquid using a fine mesh colander.
- Store liquid in airtight container for up to 4 days in refrigerator or up to 3 months in freezer until ready to use.
- Raw vs Cooked Chicken – Raw and cooked chicken both work wonderfully for making stock so use what you have. If you spatchcock a chicken, keep the raw spine and wings – if you roast a whole chicken, keep the leftover carcass and use that.
- Bones or No Bones – While both cooked and raw chicken work to make stock, you definitely want to include the bones! The bones provide the collagen that breaks down into gelatin which is responsible for giving stock its rich thickness. Omit the bones and you’ll end up making chicken broth instead of stock.
- What vegetables should I use? – Whatever you’ve got! Lots of people avoid leafy greens and cruciferous or starchy vegetables because they can make your stock cloudy or bitter. My philosophy is that so long as a vegetable scrap isn’t toxic (think tomato stems and leaves), into the stock pot it goes!
- Don’t have a fine mesh colander? – Me either so instead I use a coffee filter. Check out my vegetable stock recipe for a picture of my setup.
- What about salt? – Add salt if you like but I prefer to hold off until I’m making the final dish.
Keywords: Chicken Stock Recipe, Chicken Stock, Chicken Broth
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This Recipe’s Roots
When I first started cooking I bought all of my chicken stock from the store. Back in those early days I had no idea how economical and simple making chicken stock at home was. Or how much better homemade chicken stock tastes. Or how much healthier it is!
Not until we began raising our own chickens and feeding them vegetable scraps did I realize how much food I’d been throwing away for years. Cucumber peels, carrot peels, onion tops, celery ends, potato skins, you name it. While I loved spoiling the chickens with treats I did begin to wonder whether tossing all that food to the chickens wasn’t a waste too – they had an entire backyard of juicy bugs and plants after all.
I did some research about reducing food waste and after a failed attempt at vermicomposting (don’t ask) I landed on making making chicken stock and vegetable stock. The results were top notch – better tasting food, significantly less household garbage, and a very modest reduction in our grocery budget.
While I’m obviously not the first person to ever make chicken stock, Hippocrates recommended bone broth in Ancient Greece for digestive health for goodness sake, the act of making healthy food out of seemingly nothing is still thrilling.
Taking a Closer Look
All my best stocks start out with a large enameled cast iron dutch oven. They’re big, they retain heat well, and they don’t wiggle around on the stovetop when you stir.
Just toss in all of your ingredients, cover them with water, and you’re good to go.
The real trick to making a flavorful stock is simmering. You may wonder if you’d really be able to tell the difference between a simmered stock and a boiled stock and the answer is a resounding YES. Boiling causes more agitation and turns the outer layers of vegetable scraps to bitter mush while failing to unleash the flavors from the vegetables’ centers. Same goes for the chicken bones.
And boiled for long enough, the fat from the chicken and the water will actually begin to emulsify which results in a cloudy, greasy stock.
If you want a delicious homemade chicken stock, simmer, people, simmer.
Simmering heats the ingredients evenly throughout and allows for a uniform release of flavors. It also eliminates the need to add more water later on which dilutes the flavor. And just look at the clarity of the liquid after a long, low simmer.
Beautiful, if I do say so myself.
When you’re done simmering, strain out the solids using a fine mesh colander and your homemade chicken stock is ready to go. If you don’t have a fine mesh colander (I don’t) you can always use a regular strainer followed by a coffee filter – that’s what I do when I’m making stock. Here’s a picture of my setup from the last time I made vegetable stock.
Chicken stock keeps well in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for a few months so if you’re making chicken stock you may as well make a big batch. I like to store mine in wide mouth mason jars.
What I Like Most About This Recipe
For how little effort chicken stock is to make, I love how much flavor it adds to a dish. Want to kick up your rice? Make it with chicken stock instead of water. Want a richer chicken pot pie? Homemade chicken stock all the way.
You wouldn’t think a bunch of seemingly useless vegetable scraps and chicken leftovers would make something so appealing but gosh if they don’t. On more than one occasion I’ve poured myself a hot glass of fresh chicken stock and enjoyed it like a tea.
And so unbelievably easy to make.
You know someone really cooks when they make their own stocks from scratch. Not because it’s hard to to do so, it most certainly is not, but because in order to get all the necessary vegetable and chicken scraps they must have cooked a bunch of other dishes.
Rich, golden chicken stock is Mother Nature’s way of saying thank you for taking the time to cook and feed your body real food. That might sound trite but trust me, once you make this chicken stock recipe you’ll agree.
Well, what are you waiting for? Get simmering those chicken and vegetable scraps, people!
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