Let’s talk chicken stock. First of all, let’s clear up the difference between broth and stock. Broth is made by simmering meat only; stock is made by simmering bones, thereby infusing it with the goodness of the marrow inside those bones. (So, yes, the popular term “bone broth” is a misnomer. It’s the same as stock.)
When making daily meals, I confess to using one of the many convenient boxes of Kitchen Basics broth I have stashed in my pantry. But I always have homemade stock in my freezer for two very specific situations: illness and holidays. When I’m not feeling well, nothing restores my soul better than flu-fighter chicken stock.
Flu-Fighter Chicken Stock
(Original recipe: Everyday Maven)
5 lb organic chicken (with bones and skin)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Water, approx. 20 cups
8 to 10″ lemongrass, sliced in half
3 to 4 shallots, cut in half lengthwise (skin on)
1 head garlic, cut in half across the middle (skin on)
3 to 4″ ginger root, peeled and sliced lengthwise
1 bunch scallion whites, cut lengthwise
2-3 tablespoons Kosher salt
Begin by cutting the chicken into the standard 9-pieces: 2 breasts, 2 thighs, 2 wings, 2 drumsticks, 1 backbone, cut down the middle to expose the marrow in the bones. Don’t let this part intimidate you; here’s a good visual aid if you need help with this.
Place the cut up chicken parts in a large stock pot. Cover the chicken with water and apple cider vinegar, let sit for at least 30 minutes while you prep everything else. The vinegar will extract minerals and calcium from the bones to make your stock even more of a nutritional powerhouse.
Meanwhile, prep all your aromatics. Chop scallions, slice shallots, peel ginger, cut garlic. (It’s strange to leave the skins on, but it’s fine. You’ll remove them later.)
Once the chicken has soaked in the water/vinegar mixture for 30 minutes, toss aromatics into the pot. Add salt.
Bring to a boil; skim foam off the top until it subsides. Lower heat to a gentle simmer and cook, covered, for 45 minutes.
Pull out the 2 breasts and 2 thighs and let them cool. When cool enough, pull off the meat and return the bones to the pot. (I usually dice and freeze that meat to add to the soup later.)
Simmer stock for another 2 hours and 15 minutes (total simmer time: 3 hours). Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
Allow to cool. Once cool enough, remove chicken parts, and set those aside to cool so you can pick the meat off remaining bones to use for the soup. Strain the rest into another pot, discarding all bits and bones. Refrigerate the remaining liquid to allow the fat to settle to the top. Gently ladle off the fat and discard it. The rest is your stock.*
The second type of stock I keep on hand is specifically for the holidays. It’s darker, has more depth of flavor, and makes a killer gravy!
Dark Roasted Chicken Stock
(Original recipe: Martha Stewart)
5 pounds assorted chicken parts including bones
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 2 inch lengths
2 celery stalks, chopped into 2 inch lengths
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters
1 cup red wine
1 dried bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken parts in a single layer in a large heavy roasting pan. Drizzle with oil and turn to coat. Roast, turning once and stirring often for even browning, until beginning to brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from oven, add carrots, celery, and onion. Spread tomato paste over chicken pieces with pastry brush. Return pan to oven and roast until vegetables are browned and tender and bones are deeply browned, about 40 minutes.
Transfer bones and vegetables to large stockpot, then spoon off fat from roasting pan and discard. Set pan over two burners. Add wine and bring to a boil, scraping up any brown bits from bottom with wooden spoon. Boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Pour everything into stockpot.
Add enough water (about 3 quarts) to cover chicken and vegetables by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to gentle simmer. Add bay leaf and peppercorns; cook 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours, skimming surface frequently.
Carefully pour stock through fine sieve into large bowl (do not press on solids); discard solids. Chill and store for up to 3 days in the refrigerator or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Thaw completely in refrigerator before using.*
*If your cooled stock ever appears gelatinous, do not despair! That means it contains a lot of collagen from the bones, and that is a very good thing! Just use as you would liquid stock; it will liquefy with heat.