How to Make Chicken Stock that Rocks
Posted on February 15, 2014
The difference between chicken stock that cooks on your stove and chicken broth that comes from your grocer’s shelf is quite remarkable. There are times that you can get away with using the prepared product, but others when a little extra effort will make all the difference in your dishes. Follow these simple suggestions for how to make chicken stock and you’ll have a fabulous foundation for all of your favorite soups, stews, sauces and more.
Brown Your Bones: To make a big pot of chicken stock, you’ll need to start with a couple of pounds of chicken bones. Coax the flavor out of the bones by placing them in a roasting pan in a 400°F oven. Once they are golden brown, transfer them to your stock pot. After carefully discarding the grease, you may want to deglaze the roasting pan with water and pour it over the bones to kick-start your stock. Then fill the pot with cold water until it covers the bones completely.
Go Aromatic: The best chicken stock is not made from bones alone. Add coarsely chopped aromatic vegetables like onions, leeks, celery and carrots. Ideally, pieces of vegetable should be large enough so that they don’t break down completely in the cooking process, but small enough that they are evenly dispersed in the pot.
Simmer Gently: Stocks should simmer, not boil, on the stove for at least 2 hours (even longer if possible). This means that the liquid is visibly moving on the surface, but not bubbling heavily. As stock simmers, the amount of liquid evaporates out of the pot and reduces down capturing an intense chicken flavor. The color should be translucent golden yellow, not muddled or opaque.
Skim the Surface: If chicken stock is simmered properly, you’ll see that the fat and other particles rise to the top. To end up with a pure product, gently swirl a ladle just below the surface and allow the imperfections to fill the ladle. Pour into a bowl and repeat the procedure until the top of the stock is free and clear. Skim the stock several times throughout the cooking process for the best results possible.
Strain into another pot: When stock is a rich, golden color and the flavor is pronounced, it’s time to take it off the stove and strain out the bones, veggies and any herbs you may have added. (After cooking for several hours, all of these items have given everything they have to the stock and haven’t much life left.) Make sure to place a large bowl or another stockpot beneath your strainer before you begin! Then, pour the contents out of the stockpot. Use a spatula or tongs to lightly press liquid through the strainer to “ring out” drenched vegetables and make sure to collect every last drop of the most rockin’ stock you’ve ever made!