When I had a really bad cold this time last year, my mom asked, “Don’t you have any chicken stock?” Knowing the kind she meant, I said no. To which she promptly rejoindered, “Well tell Billy to go out and buy you a chicken to make stock with!”
What an inane and poorly prioritized conversation, you are likely thinking, but that’s because you don’t know my dad’s chicken stock. It’s magical. It heals. It soothes. It does your laundry.
Okay, it doesn’t do that, but I grew up on chicken noodle soup from this base and can’t tell you how many times it stalled an impending cold-and-flu cloud in its tracks, and indeed sent it packing to the next desk down. I also couldn’t figure out why my barley and rice didn’t taste as good in Iowa as at home, until I realized my dad doesn’t cook them in water, but chicken stock. The flavor’s insane. Insane rice? Yes. You must be catching on. Same goes with, you know, any number of recipes here or elsewhere that call for chicken broth. Make this; use it instead.
Not just for the joy of “Little House on the Prairie”-ing. My store bought, low-sodium chicken broth in the fridge counts among its ingredients yeast extract and cane juice. The mind boggles. This doesn’t belong in stock. And I buy the hippie kind. Make this; use it instead and be amazed.
This is a recipe in the barest sense of the word: add several handfuls of chopped this and that to a pot, cover with water, and cook for several hours. You can, of course, alter the herbs to taste, and no you don’t need an entire, perfect rotisserie-cooked chicken carcas. But for you measurement geeks:
- Leftover bones from one whole chicken
- One cup roughly chopped celery
- One cup roughly chopped carrots
- One onion, halved and stuck with 6 cloves
- A bunch of parsley
- A bunch of fresh thyme
- A couple bay leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
Plop all the ingredients in a large pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer. Cook, covered, on low heat for around three hours. During the first half hour, hour, skim off any particles or fat that float to the surface. Cover and continue to cook two to three hours. Strain and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, skim off any more fat from the surface, and freeze until needed.