Making your own homemade chicken stock or broth will give you a rich, heavenly elixir that can be the base for so many great recipes.
You’ll save money over buying canned or boxed broth, your version will have less sodium and no preservatives or additives, and the true, rich flavor will be SO amazing.
You can use top-quality ingredients like organic veggies and filtered water if you like, and you can control the flavors for exactly what you want to cook.
Choose Your Chicken
There are two ways you can make this stock. The first way is to use leftover chicken bones such as the carcass remaining after you eat a roasted chicken.
The second method is to use fresh new chicken. When you’re done, you’ll have cooked chicken that you can use in another recipe.
Turkey Stock for Thanksgiving
You can also follow these same directions and make a delicious, flavorful turkey broth to use in gravy, sauce or soup. You can use the leftover turkey carcass, or you can purchase a couple of inexpensive turkey legs.
For this recipe, I started with five chicken drumsticks. I love drumsticks for this recipe, because they are full of meat and usually very inexpensive.
Remove the skin and any visible fat. You can do this easily with your fingers if you’re cooking drumsticks. (By the way, you don’t have to remove the skin and fat. The resulting broth will contain more fat, but you can remove it later if you like — directions below.)
Add Your Veggies
The traditional method for making stock calls for vegetables to be cooked with meaty bones in water until all of the flavor is extracted. I like to include a nice yellow onion, a couple of carrots and a celery stalk or two for good flavor.
If you have some odds and ends in your produce drawer, feel free to toss them in the pot. You can also save things like vegetable peelings, leftover cooked veggies, etc. in a bag in the freezer. Then, when it’s time to make soup stock you can add them for additional flavor. I also save the cooking water left over when I cook fresh vegetables like green beans, and freeze it.
For a lovely golden color in your chicken stock, use a yellow onion and leave the skin on. Quarter the onion and cut the carrots in 2-inch chunks. Cut the celery in 1-inch pieces.
Flavoring Ingredients You Can Add to Homemade Stock
For maximum versatility I prefer to make a very simple stock that I can use for lots of different things, from gravy to soup to ramen to sauces.
If you’re making the stock for a specific purpose, you can enhance the flavor depending on what you add. For instance, if you sprinkle in some red pepper flakes you’ll have a spicier broth that can become the base for Chicken Tortilla Soup. With the addition of herbs, the broth can flavor a traditional pan sauce or gravy for roast chicken or turkey.
Here are some optional ingredients you can add:
- Garlic cloves, peeled and halved
- Parsley sprigs
- Bay leaf
- Leeks, cleaned and chopped
- Parsnip, roughly chopped
- Thyme sprigs
- Oregano sprigs
- A small sprig of rosemary
- Red pepper flakes
- A glass of white wine
Put all the ingredients in a large pot and cover with cold water. Heat on medium-high until the mixture comes to a boil. Then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer; the stock should be gently bubbling around the edges of the pot.
At this point, your chicken stock will be at its most unappetizing. Do not let your children look in the pot!
Partially cover the pot with the lid so that the steam can escape, and simmer away. Use a large flat spoon to skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
After 1 hour of cooking, if you used drumsticks or other fresh chicken, you’ll want to remove the pieces from the broth with tongs or a slotted spoon. Let cool for about 10 minutes, and separate the meat from the bones. The five drumsticks I cooked produced about 2 cups of chopped chicken. Drizzle the meat with a little of the chicken broth to add extra flavor and keep it juicy. Chopped cooked chicken is perfect for casseroles, enchiladas, salads, pastas, pizzas and so much more.
Return the chicken bones back to the pot and continue simmering for 3 hours.
After about 4 hours of total simmering time, turn off the heat and remove the lid. Cool the broth for 10 minutes and carefully strain out the vegetables and chicken. The flavor will have cooked out of the bones and vegetables, so I usually add them to the compost pile (after giving a cooked carrot or two to our dog).
After straining, the stock will have a light sheen of chicken fat on top.
I love the flavor it adds, but if you want fat-free broth you can refrigerate the broth until very cold. The fat will harden on top and then you can easily skim it off with a slotted spoon.
Creative Cooking with Homemade Broth
You’ll have about 4 to 5 cups of flavorful stock that you can use for so many great meals. You can use the stock at once, or refrigerate it in a covered container for up to 3 days, or cool it completely in a covered container in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and then freeze it for up to 6 months.
If you have a “stock” of stock in your freezer, you’ll always have the basis for a flavorful meal. Here’s a super-simple lunch I made with a bowl of homemade broth topped with steamed frozen soup dumplings from Trader Joe’s. This dish literally took me 10 minutes from start to finish!
Shall we get cooking? Here’s the easy recipe:
- 2 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1 large yellow onion, skin left on, quartered
- 1 large or 2 small celery stalks, cut in 1-inch pieces
- 5 medium chicken drumsticks, skin and fat removed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 8 cups cold water
- Put the ingredients in a large pot and cover with cold water. Heat on medium-high until the mixture comes to a boil. Then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer; the stock should be gently bubbling around the edges of the pot.
- Partially cover the pot with the lid so that the steam can escape, and simmer away. Use a large flat spoon to skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
- If you used drumsticks or other fresh chicken, remove the pieces from the broth with tongs or a slotted spoon after 1 hour of cooking. Let cool for about 10 minutes, and separate the meat from the bones. Drizzle the meat with a little of the chicken broth to add extra flavor and keep it juicy, and reserve for another use.
- Return the chicken bones back to the pot and continue simmering for 3 hours. After about 4 hours of total simmering time, turn off the heat and remove the lid. Cool the broth for 10 minutes.
- Carefully strain out the vegetables and chicken. The remaining chicken stock may be used at once, or refrigerated in a covered container for up to 3 days, or cooled in a covered container in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and frozen for up to 6 months.
For fat-free broth, refrigerate the chicken stock until very cold. The fat will harden on top and then you can easily skim it off with a slotted spoon.
Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 155Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 277mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 19g
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If you make homemade chicken stock, I’d love to hear what you think and how you use it. You can leave a comment on this post or email me at mail @ elizacross . com.