If you’re a fan of homemade soups, stews, and sauces, you know that the secret to a rich, flavorful base is a high-quality chicken stock. While you can certainly buy chicken stock at the grocery store, nothing beats the taste and nutritional benefits of making your own homemade chicken stock. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to make a delicious, nutrient-rich chicken stock that can be used as a base for all of your favorite recipes.
Table of Contents
- What is chicken stock?
- The benefits of making homemade chicken stock
- Ingredients you’ll need
- Equipment you’ll need
- Step-by-step instructions for making chicken stock
- Tips for making the perfect chicken stock
- How to store and freeze chicken stock
- Using chicken stock in your favorite recipes
1. What is chicken stock?
Chicken stock is a flavorful liquid that is made by simmering chicken bones, vegetables, and aromatics in water for an extended period of time. The resulting liquid is used as a base for soups, stews, sauces, and other dishes. While chicken broth is made from simmering meat, chicken stock is made from simmering the bones, which gives it a richer, more intense flavor.
2. The benefits of making homemade chicken stock
Making homemade chicken stock has several benefits. First and foremost, it is much more flavorful and nutrient-dense than store-bought chicken stock, which is often loaded with salt and preservatives. Additionally, making your own chicken stock is a great way to use up leftover chicken bones and vegetable scraps, reducing waste and saving money.
3. Ingredients you’ll need
To make homemade chicken stock, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Chicken bones (from a whole chicken or chicken parts)
- Bay leaves
- Whole peppercorns
4. Equipment you’ll need
You’ll also need a few pieces of equipment to make homemade chicken stock:
- Large stockpot or Dutch oven
- Fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- Storage containers (such as quart-sized mason jars)
5. Step-by-step instructions for making chicken stock
- Start by roasting the chicken bones in a 400°F oven for about 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
- While the bones are roasting, chop the onion, carrots, and celery into large pieces. Peel the garlic cloves.
- Once the bones are done roasting, transfer them to a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Add the chopped vegetables, garlic, bay leaves, and peppercorns.
- Fill the pot with cold water, covering the bones and vegetables by about 2 inches.
- Bring the pot to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and let the stock simmer for at least 3 hours (or up to 8 hours), skimming off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface.
- After the stock has simmered for several hours, remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly.
- Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a large bowl or another pot.
- Discard the solids, and let the stock cool to room temperature.
- Once the stock has cooled, transfer it to storage containers and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.
6. Tips for making the perfect chicken stock
- Use a mix of chicken bones and parts for the most flavorful stock.
- Roasting the bones before simmering them will add depth of flavor to your stock.
- Use a large pot to ensure that the bones and vegetables are fully submerged in water.
- Skim the foam and impurities off the top of the stock as it simmers to keep it clear.
- Letting the stock simmer for a longer period of time (up to 8 hours) will result in a richer, more flavorful stock.
- Don’t add salt to your stock until you’re ready to use it in a recipe, as this will give you more control over the seasoning.
7. How to store and freeze chicken stock
Once your chicken stock has cooled to room temperature, transfer it to storage containers such as quart-sized mason jars or plastic containers with lids. Refrigerate the stock for up to 5 days, or freeze it for up to 6 months. To freeze, pour the cooled stock into freezer-safe containers, leaving about 1 inch of headspace to allow for expansion. Label the containers with the date and freeze until ready to use.
8. Using chicken stock in your favorite recipes
Homemade chicken stock is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a wide variety of recipes, including soups, stews, sauces, and casseroles. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Use chicken stock as a base for classic chicken noodle soup.
- Add chicken stock to vegetable soups to enhance the flavor.
- Use chicken stock to make a rich and flavorful gravy for roasted meats.
- Use chicken stock as the liquid in rice pilafs and other grain dishes.
- Add a splash of chicken stock to sautéed vegetables for extra flavor.
Making your own chicken stock is a great way to add flavor and nutrition to your favorite recipes while also reducing waste and saving money. With just a few ingredients and some time on the stove, you can make a delicious, nutrient-dense chicken stock that will take your soups, stews, and sauces to the next level.
- Can I use chicken bones from a rotisserie chicken to make stock?
Yes, absolutely! Using the bones from a rotisserie chicken is a great way to make use of leftovers.
- Can I freeze chicken stock in ice cube trays?
Yes, freezing chicken stock in ice cube trays is a great way to have small portions of stock on hand for recipes that only call for a small amount.
- Can I use chicken stock in place of water in recipes?
Yes, using chicken stock in place of water will add flavor to your recipe. Just be mindful of the salt content, as store-bought stock can be high in sodium.
- Can I make chicken stock in a slow cooker?
Yes, making chicken stock in a slow cooker is a great option if you want to set it and forget it. Simply add the ingredients to the slow cooker and let it cook on low for 8-10 hours.
- How long will chicken stock last in the refrigerator?
Homemade chicken stock will last in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.