Making your own stock really pays off when it comes time to prepare soups, sauces and grains. Nothing can compare with homemade stocks. A large batch of stock can be frozen in small containers and be ready at a moments notice. Chicken stock is a great soup base and a wonderful substitute for water when making rice, or for braising poultry or beef. I like to add a chicken parts to the bones to give a little extra flavor. You can use the cooked meat for chicken salad if you like. Please note that I do not add salt to the stock. This is especially important if you use the stock in reduction sauces.
It is important to skim the stock as it cooks in order to produce a clear stock. Also, do not let the stock boil too vigorously or it will become cloudy.
Once you have tried making your own stock, you will never go back to the canned variety.
3 pounds chicken parts, including backs, necks, wings and carcasses
2 pounds chicken legs and thighs
1 large onion – chopped
2 medium carrots – peeled coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks – coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
8 black peppercorns
5 parsley stems
2 cloves of garlic – peeled
Rinse the chicken bones and pieces in cold water and place in a large pot or stockpot. . Fill the pot with enough water to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that forms. Add the remaining ingredients and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 3 hours, skimming as necessary. Strain the stock through a mesh strainer into a clean container and set it in ice water to cool. Cover the container and place in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the congealed layer of fat and store the stock in the refrigerator up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Makes approximately 4 quarts.