Chicken stock

Yep, you can buy chicken stock off the grocery store shelf. You can buy lots of things off the shelf that don’t taste nearly as good as what you can make at home. This recipe will net about 16 cups (nearly 4 liters) of delicious stock.

From the directions, you’ll see we are pretty adamant about cooling the broth outside your refrigerator. There are several reasons for this. First, your refrigerator isn’t nearly as good at cooling things down as it is in keeping them cool. Second, bacteria grow best in temperatures between 40-140°F (5-60°C). The quicker we can lower the temperature, the sooner we can avoid bacteria buildup. So be sure to have the cooler with an ice bath ready.

What’s the difference between stock and broth? Typically broth is made with meat (often times along with some bones) whereas stock is usually just the bones. In the grocery store, you’ll see both on the shelves, as the USDA does not differentiate between the two. In my humble opinion, stock has a richer flavor – especially when you make your own.

3–4 pounds (2 kg) chicken bones—necks, wings, whole carcass, etc.
1 onion, quartered
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 celery heart, chopped
3 bay leaves
3 sprigs Italian parsley, chopped

  1. Place all ingredients into a large soup pot.
  2. Add enough water to cover all the chicken and aromatics.
  3. Invert a metal colander or steamer basket over the chicken and aromatics. This will make the skimming process much easier!
  4. Bring water up to a fast simmer, and continue simmering for approximately 90–120 minutes, skimming scum off the top frequently.
  5. Remove from heat and strain out all the solids.
  6. Pour the stock into a container and place into a cooler with plenty of ice to surround the container.
  7. Once the stock has cooled, the fat will congeal on the surface. Spoon off excess fat the following day and freeze whatever stock you don’t need immediately.

Variation—While this recipe is technically a stock, chicken broth is almost the same process—but you can reduce the simmer time to about 60 minutes in total. To make the chicken broth, use a whole chicken, and stuff the aromatics into the cavity of the bird. Then you have all that cooked chicken meat to use for some chicken salad, chicken soup, you name it!

Plan Ahead—Freeze a few bottles of water (please remove the labels). You can toss them in the container of your stock when you are ready to cool and they will help lower the temperature more quickly. Freeze your stock in smaller portions for future use with other recipes.