Basic Chicken Stock

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This recipe made about 1 liter of stock.

Tip: Just look at that golden broth and imagine the savory scent in your kitchen. The tip here is to use raw chicken parts, that you might otherwise discard, to make stock. It’s simple, mostly hands-off, can be made in small (or large) batches, can be frozen for future use and it is delicious in soups or sauces.

I found myself with some chicken parts this morning as I prepared a spatchcocked chicken for grilling (more about that in a future post), which requires removing the backbone. In my kitchen, that means making a small pot of chicken stock. If your schedule doesn’t allow for this process each time you cook chicken, toss the trimmed parts into a container and freeze until you have time for a bigger batch of stock. The recipe below is a guideline more than a recipe. It’s hard to mess this up!

Trimmed bony parts of a 5 lb roasting chicken
1 large or 2 medium fresh carrots
2 stalks fresh celery
1/2 medium yellow onion
1 small apple
1 bay leaf (optional)
Water to cover all ingredients
Note: Do not season with salt & pepper. You will want to do that when you use the stock in soup or sauce.

Trim the bony parts from the whole chicken…neck, backbone, tail, wingtips or whole wings. If you happen to be boning the chicken to use the meat in another recipe, be sure to add all bones to your stock preparation.
Thoroughly scrub carrots and celery (do not peel); cut into rough-chop pieces.
Wash onion and apple (do not peel or remove apple seeds); cut 1/2 of onion and whole apple into large pieces.

Place all chicken parts and washed/chopped ingredients plus bay leaf in a 3-4 liter saucepan. Add cold (room temp) water to fill the pan, covering all ingredients (some will sink and some will float to the top). Bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to keep the stock bubbling but not rapidly boiling.

For a clearer stock, skim any impurities with a spoon as they surface. Simmer the stock for about an hour…the longer you simmer, the richer the stock will be, but there will be more evaporation as well.

Place a strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl large enough to hold the stock you have created. Pour the contents of your pan into the strainer and press gently with a wooden spoon to extract as much liquid as you can. Don’t press too hard or the softened vegetables may sneak through and cloud the stock. Use the stock immediately in a soup or sauce. Alternatively, keep it chilled in the refrigerator for a day or two or package and freeze for a future meal. Season as needed when the stock is used.

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