Homemade Chicken Stock
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 3-5 hours
(Total time will vary with appliance and setting.)
Level of Difficulty: Easy
Makes 10 to 12 cups
2 large onions, quartered
2 medium carrots, quartered
2 stalks celery with leaves, quartered
10 sprigs parsley
4 sprigs fresh or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 bay leaf
5 pounds chicken bones, wings, backs, legs or a mixture, trimmed of excess fat
Lemon juice (optional)
- In a large stockpot, combine the onions, carrots and celery. Add the herbs and the chicken parts and bones. Add enough cold water to cover the chicken by 2 to 3 inches. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then quickly lower the heat so the stock simmers very gently. With a ladle, skim the surface of any foam, scum or fat, when necessary.
- Simmer uncovered for 3 to 5 hours to reduce the stock and concentrate the flavor. Strain into a large bowl or several small bowls. Cool the liquid to room temperature before refrigerating. The smaller bowls will cool quicker, or you can cool larger containers of stock more quickly in an ice-water bath in the sink. Refrigerate the cooled stock.
- The next day, remove the layer of solidified fat that covers the broth. Homemade broth will keep for about three days in the refrigerator or in the freezer for up three months. Freezer-safe plastic storage bags allow you to store broth in user-friendly portions and conserve space. You can freeze the stock in ice-cube trays or muffin pans, then remove from the trays and store in plastic freezer bags.
The optional lemon juice adds extra flavor and can be added at any time.
Chicken stock and broth are commonly used by professional chefs in many recipes to add flavor, body and liquid. Preparing them at home is easy, although it takes time and a method to store itFor convenience, most home cooks purchase chicken stock at the market. Stock is now available in aseptic boxes with a resealable plastic cap or in cans. Most aseptic-packaged stocks and broths are made with natural ingredients and do not contain monosodium glutamate (MSG). Stocks and broths are usually very low in fat, but the sodium content can be extremely high. Fortunately, there are many lower-sodium varieties available.
You can make your own homemade stock or broth sodium-free or with a controlled amount of salt, and use vegetables and herbs for more flavor. (One teaspoon of salt adds 2,500 mg of sodium).