Chicken Stock-The Easy Way
Save Money with Healthier Eating and Less Waste
Chicken stock, (also known as white stock), is the foundation for many recipes. If you enjoy cooking and healthy eating, it's best to make this useful ingredient in your own kitchen. The commercial brands are okay to use if you're in a hurry but they usually contain too much sodium, as well as other ingredients that aren't conducive to good health. This recipe is tasty, easy and has ingredients which you may already have available in your kitchen. You'll not only save money with this method, you'll also be able to use any chicken parts that you may have thrown out because you felt they were useless.
Kitchen Tools & Equipment
In order to complete this recipe successfully, it's best to use the following kitchen tools and equipment:
- 10-20 quart stockpot
- chef's knife
- cutting board
- cheesecloth (optional)
- food-safe storage containers (glass or plastic)
This recipe is formulated for a 10-quart stockpot, so if you're using a pot on the larger end of the scale (18-20 quarts), you'll want to double your recipe. It's best to use glass storage containers for refrigerator storage--your stock will last longer and will not absorb refrigerator odors. Use plastic storage containers for freezing your stock.
The following ingredients are needed for this recipe:
- 4-5 pounds of chicken parts (necks, backs, wingtips, raw bones)
- 1 medium onion (white or yellow), large dice
- 2 carrots (medium), large dice
- 2 celery ribs, large dice
- 1/4-1/2 cup of fresh parsley (leaves and stems), roughly chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon of black peppercorn
It's more economical to buy whole chickens and fabricate the carcasses at home. If this is one of your kitchen practices, save the unused portions of the chicken (backs, necks, wingtips). Keep them in your freezer until needed. The rule of thumb for the vegetable mix, (also known as "mirepoix"), is 50% onions, 25% carrots and 25% celery ribs. You may use more or less of each vegetable but always go easy on the celery because it's stong flavor can overwhelm your stock if you're not careful. The herbs and spices may be placed directly into your stock or you can make a sachet with cheesecloth to hold them in place.
- Place chicken parts, vegetables, herbs and spices in stockpot.
- Fill stockpot with cold water until the water is about 2" (or less) from the top.
- Simmer stock for 1-3 hours.
- Do not stir.
- Periodically skim the foam and fat from the top of the stock.
- Strain stock into storage containers. (Use cheesecloth in strainer for "cleaner" stock, if desired.)
- Cool and store in refrigerator or freeze for later use.
There are two rules for this recipe which must never be broken: 1. Always start your stock with cold water, and 2. Never stir your stock! If you stir your stock, you mix the impurities into it. You want the impurities to rise to the top and sink to the bottom so you can dispose of them easily and keep your stock pure and clean. Note: You may use a whole chicken or chickens to make your stock. If you choose to do this then you must reduce the cooking time to 1-1 1/2 hours, especially if you plan to use the meat in other dishes.
That's all you need to do in order to make healthy chicken stock. You can use the stock for soups, stews and for poaching meats. You may also use it in place of water to cook pasta, rice or vegetables. This versatile element will add flavor and nutrients to your dishes without a lot of extra fat and calories. It's a good idea to get into the habit of making chicken stock at least once every week or two. It's a "no-fuss" recipe that you can make anytime for pennies a serving and it's much healthier than the salt and fat laden cans of commercial chicken stock.