For those of you that do a lot of cooking, this might seem like a no-brainer. Don’t worry, I am not a Soup Nazi. I do not always use homemade stock for recipes. If you’ve been reading my blog you’ve seen me use my favorite stand-by, Better Than Bouillon. The reason I make my own stock is because I hate to waste a chicken. I like to buy whole chickens and then break them down for different recipes. This practice always leaves leftover pieces like the neck, backbone, and wing tips. I toss them in a freezer bag and three or four chickens later I have enough to make a huge batch of stock. I make stock with whatever veggies I have on hand, but there are three things you MUST have for good stock: onion, celery, and parsley. If you have other things you want to use, like carrots, shallots, garlic, or other herbs, by all means, toss them in too. I also sometimes make an Asian flavor stock by adding a chunk of fresh ginger and a chili pepper. The trick to a good flavorful stock is to cook it low and slow with the lid off so that the flavors can concentrate. Your kitchen will smell amazing and you will have tons of delicious stock for your freezer. Read on for storage tips! Makes 4 quarts
- Chicken parts totaling about two pounds
- 1 onion, quartered
- 3 celery stalks, cut into chunks
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley
- salt and pepper
- Other veggies and herbs you might have on hand
- Ginger, chili pepper, lemon, star anise or 5 Spice powder for Asian broth
Place the chicken pieces divided evenly into two large stockpots. Add the onion, parsley, and celery into both the pots equally. Fill the pots with cold water to about an inch from the top. Add a t. of salt and pepper to each pot. Add any other veggies and herbs you wish to use. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about three hours or until the liquid has reduced by about half. Each pot will have about two quarts of liquid in it. Strain the broth with a mesh sieve into a bowl and taste for seasoning. Cool and ladle into storage containers.
*I’m pretty geeked out about my tip for storing your stock. I use large plastic freezer bags with zippers. I ladle four cups of stock into each bag and lay it flat on a plastic cutting board. Lay another bag on top and so on until you have a stack of four. Freeze them flat and you can stack them under or on top of anything in your freezer – you can even store them upright since they are only about an inch thick. The best part is they defrost much faster than a big block or solid container.