I promised you a really long time ago that I would share my chicken stock recipe, but then I never did. Because I’m a jerk. Instead I just stuck my chicken carcass in the freezer and forgot about it. Then, this weekend, when I was putting together my list of recipes for November for both b&s and iVillage (did I mention that starting November 9th I’ll be writing a weekly food column for iVillage?), and I realized that it was finally perfect timing to make chicken stock and share the recipe.
Chicken stock is really water that has been infused with the nutrients, flavor, and essence of chicken, vegetable, and spices. You combine the spices and vegetables with chicken scraps, bones, and leftovers and simmer for 6-8 hours with water. It’s a great way to repurpose left over chicken from fried, roasted, or broiled chicken. The stock can then be used in soups, stews, braises, etc.
Why make it yourself, you may ask, when it’s only a few dollars at the grocery store? Well, for a few reasons. For one, you’re recycling your leftover chickens, and you can throw in whatever vegetable scraps you have. Secondly, it’s better for you. You can control the amount of salt, and there are no preservatives. Also, you can make a lot in one sitting and freeze it. Some people choose to freeze their stock in 10 little containers, but my freezer isn’t big enough for that, so I freeze it in 1/2 gallon batches.
Another benefit is that if you’re making stock for one particular dish, you can flavor it so that it is as complimentary as possible. For instance, when I made this stock I was going to use the first batch of it to braise short ribs. I was braising the ribs in red wine with cremini mushrooms, with a flavor profile that included all spice, rosemary, and bay leaves. So by including these ingredients in the stock, when I used the stock in the braise the flavors echoed beautifully.
Homemade Chicken Stock
1 chicken carcass
2 cups baby carrots
1/2 white onion, sliced
5 garlic cloves
1 tbsp whole peppercorns
1 tsp allspice
2 bay leaves
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tbsp pepper
8 cups cold water (plus more, as needed)
Combine everything but the water in a large stockpot. Cover with the large steamer basket. Pour water in, so that the ingredients are completely covered with water.
Bring to a boil.
Cover, lower temperature to a simmer, and cook 6-8 hours. Every 30 minutes or so skim fat from the top, and add water as needed. Make sure that vegetables and chicken stay covered completely.
Strain and freeze the stock for future use!