- Cover the chicken/bones with cold water and add a few tablespoons of vinegar. I never measure but just pour in “a glug.” The vinegar is optional, but I think it improves the taste and many say it helps extract nutrients and minerals from the bones and veggies.
- Cook over high heat until a gentle boil is reached (attempt, of course, not to boil over the liquid like I often do, but don’t despair if that happens). Turn stove to low, then skim off any foam that has risen to the top. (That’s just impurities and questionable stuff – if there’s foam, always try to skim, no matter what you’re cooking.)
- Allow the stock to simmer for anywhere from 4-24 hours. Some say don’t dare go over 12; the same folks say boiling will break down the Perfect Supplements gelatin to your stock at the end to further boost the immunity and skin/hair/joint health benefits of your stock. I’ve been adding gelatin and to everything from casseroles to smoothies lately! . Do what works for you, makes a good-tasting broth, and demonstrates gelatin (like Jell-o consistency) at the end. Note: You can also add
- One or two hours before you stop cooking the stock, prepare some vegetables. I save carrot, celery and onion ends in the freezer and dump the whole bag into the stockpot. Otherwise, grab the following for each whole chicken or equivalent bones: 1-2 onions, 2 carrots, 3 stalks celery, 4 garlic cloves
- All the vegetables are technically optional; great stock can be made from bones alone. The veggies add a lot of flavor and color, but you don’t have to be perfect about how much you put in. I find that onion skins add gorgeous color.
- Wash the carrots and celery and cut them into 3-inch chunks. Quarter the onion – you can leave the skins and ends on if they’re not dirty. Garlic cloves can be whole and unpeeled, but I prefer to crush them or chop them into a few pieces first to release the flavor more. The vegetables will add both nutrients and flavor to the stock.
- After adding your desired veggies, bring the stock back to a boil, gently, and then reduce to a simmer again for the last few hours. You can add at this time or during the next step, using about ½-1 teaspoon per quart (4 cups) of stock. Otherwise, always remember to add plenty of salt when using your homemade stock to make soup or any other recipe, or it will likely fall flat. If you’re worried this is too much, add less and season to taste. It’s easy to add more salt when needed, but trust me – you need salt, and lots of it.
- Ten minutes before finishing the stock, rinse and add a bunch of parsley (again, don’t stress about exact measurements). Fresh is best, for sure, and you don’t need to cut anything off. I use about half of what a store offers as “a bunch” for one chicken, and if I don’t have fresh parsley, I shake a tablespoon or two dried parsley in (it has to be better than nothing). The short cook time imparts mineral ions from the greens and ensures that the flavor added is just right, not bitter.
- At this point, if you have it on hand, add a strip of kombu (seaweed). It also adds minerals and salt to the stock and increases digestibility. If using kombu, cut the amount of salt you’re adding in half until you’ve tasted the finished product.
- To strain the stock: pour the hot stock carefully through a stainless steel colander with a large bowl or pot underneath. I recommend setting the bowl in the sink in case you splash. You may need to remove some stock from the bowl to jars (I use a liquid measuring cup to scoop and pour through a funnel) and strain more stock through the colander.
- You can use the stock immediately at this point. I like to make a big batch of soup the moment my stock is finished, in the same pot.
- Once completely cooled, the fat will rise to the top and congeal. I often choose to leave it in, but if I have a store-bought, conventionally raised bird, I’d opt to skim it off. Once cooled, the fat will be a thick, hard layer of white or yellow that you can crack off easily. The “gel” goes throughout all the liquid part of the stock and you can’t see it at all until cool.
- Homemade chicken stock will last in the refrigerator at least 5-7 days and in the freezer for over a year.
Stock can be made from bones left after roasting a chicken and picking off the meat, raw whole chickens or pieces (e.g. split breasts are an option), or even bones left on plates after eating baked bone-in chicken. The long cook time obliterates any germs.
You can mix raw and cooked chicken in the same pot.
You can freeze the bones or the chicken, or both, before making stock.
These instructions are exactly the same when starting with any poultry, including turkey. Grab those bones at Thanksgiving every year!