Out of Sequence, Chicken Stock

I try to do things in sequence here, but I missed my mark. The lamb stew recipe calls for chicken stock and there is no chicken stock recipe on the blog- not that you can’t find a chicken stock recipe but I wanted to share the one I use and love, so this will be it.

One of the things that brings me ridiculous joy (in the “it’s the little things in life” division) is to reach a certain magic number- five pounds . Five pounds chicken bones in my freezer.

Every time I make anything chicken that includes a bone, including this recipe or this recipe, I stick those bones in a bag and throw it in the freezer. Every couple of months or so, I check and as soon as I reach the 5 pounds needed for the stock recipe, I make stock. That, of course, if I don’t “need” to make stock sooner, in which case I break down and buy the chicken necks, backs, and bones from Whole Foods. Yes, they sell that- it is generally frozen- ask and you’ll find it.

Aside from reaching the five pound mark on the frozen chicken bone collection, another thing that brings me great joy is homemade chicken stock particularly in the spring and summer when I use it as a base for many soups and side dishes. It is simple and clean yet flavorful and bright. It won’t distract from the taste of your main ingredients; it will just help them shine.

Adapted from the Bouchon cookbook.

Ingredients: 5 lbs chicken bones (necks and backs are great!); 2 large carrots, cut into 1 inch chunks; 2 leeks white and green parts only, cut into 1 inch chunks; 1 large yellow onion (or 1 and ½ smaller); 1 bay leaf.

Another random thing you need: ice- 2 quarts.

Rinse the chicken bones thoroughly under cold water. Make sure all organs are removed and all blood cleaned out.

Place all the bones in your large stockpot an cover with cold water. Slowly bring to a simmer. The slow part is actually important in removing impurities. Skim, skim, skim.

Once the liquid is at a simmer, add 2 quarts ice. It cools quickly and allows you to remove the fat. Do that- remove the fat.

Add the remaining ingredients. Bring everything back to a simmer. Keep skimming occasionally. Simmer for another 40 minutes. Did I mention skimming?

Turn off the heat and allow the stock to rest for 10 minutes.

A lot of impurities and particles will settle at the bottom of the stockpot. Here’s the trick to a clean and clear stock: don’t shake up the impurities that had just settled at the bottom. Ladle the stock out and strain it…maybe a couple of times. Discard the veggies and any cloudy stock.

Ideally you would place the final stock, about 4 and a ½ quarts over an ice bath to cool quickly. When it is cook, refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for longer storage. I like to freeze in 2 or 4 cup increments.

Make it, use it, freeze the rest- always have some ready!

Come back soon! :-)

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  • islandvittles.com

    love the ice part-way through to collect all of the fat! Great tip!

  • Lazaro Cooks!

    Another well-written and informative post. Most people do not realize that they can freeze stock. Thanks for pointing that out. And the tip for getting bones at Whole Foods.

  • MaryMoh

    I love to make own chicken stock…..no preservatives and tastes delicious. Thanks for sharing your tips.