How to Make Chicken Stock

There are several ways to make chicken stock. Two of our favorite methods are presented here. The first method uses the leftover bones from a chicken carcass and vegetables, and takes several hours of slow cooking. We often use this method when we’ve roasted a chicken and have a leftover carcass. It’s a great way to not let good bones go to waste. In the second method, you start with chicken backs and wings, and sauté them first. This method takes about an hour total and is a quick way to get a rich and delicious stock.

Method

Method 1. Leftover Chicken Bones

  • Leftover bones and skin from a cooked or raw chicken carcass
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Carrot
  • Parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper

1 Put the leftover bones and skin from a chicken carcass into a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Add veggies like celery, onion, carrots, parsley. Add salt and pepper, about a teaspoon of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper.

2 Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer. Simmer uncovered at least 4 hours, occassionally skimming off the foam that comes to the surface.

3 Remove the bones and strain the stock.

4 If making stock for future use in soup you may want to reduce the stock by simmering an hour or two longer to make it more concentrated and easier to store.

Method 2. Quick Chicken Stock with chicken backs, wings, and legs.

  • 4 lbs of chicken backs, wings, and/or legs that have been hacked with a cleaver into 2-inch pieces. You can ask your butcher to prepare the chicken pieces this way.
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped.
  • Olive oil
  • 2 quarts of boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 bay leaves

chicken-stock-2-1.jpg 1 Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large stock pot. Add one chopped onion. Sauté until softened and slightly colored - 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. chicken-stock-2-2.jpg chicken-stock-2-3.jpg

2 Add half of the chicken pieces to the pot. Sauté until no longer pink, about 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer cooked chicken to bowl with onions. Sauté the rest of the chicken the same way. Return onion and chicken pieces to the pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until chicken releases its juices, about 20 minutes.

3 While the chicken pieces are cooking, fill a large tea kettle with 2 quarts of water, bring to a boil.

chicken-stock-2-4.jpg chicken-stock-2-5.jpg

4 After the chicken pieces have been cooking for 20 minutes, raise the heat level to high, add the 2 quarts of boiling water, 2 teaspoons of salt, 2 bay leaves. Return to a low simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon, then cover and barely simmer for about 20 minutes.

chicken-stock-2-7.jpg chicken-stock-2-8.jpg

5 Strain stock through cheesecloth or paper towel-lined large sieve, and discard solids. (It helps to remove the big pieces of bone with a slotted spoon first.)

Pour into jars and let cool, before putting into the refrigerator. Stock will last a week or so in the refrigerator or frozen for several months.

This second method comes from The Best Recipe cookbook by Cook's Illustrated. They got it from In Pursuit of Flavor, by Edna Lewis. This makes a truly flavorful stock. With chicken backs at about $1 lb, a good value as well.

Method 3: Use Chicken Feet

See How to make stock from chicken feet. If you have access to chicken feet, they make the most fabulous gelatinous stock.

Note about the Fat

I've seen a lot of newer cookbooks advocate the skimming of the fat from the stock. We prefer the traditional method of letting the fat settle in a layer on top of the stock as it cools. This way, the fat acts as a protective layer against bacteria, which is found in the air. The stock will last longer if you keep the fat layer on it.

Just lift up the layer of fat and remove the stock when you want to use it. Every few days, bring the stock to a simmer for 10 minutes and let it cool, again with the fat forming a protective layer. Your stock can be stored in the refrigerator and used for up to a couple of weeks this way.

Main Ingredients

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