Making your own chicken stock or broth at home is easy and is a great way to use the bones instead of throwing them away.
When I buy chicken I usually get the dark meat quarters which is the leg and thigh still attached. Dark meat is cheaper than breasts, and more flavorful.
Then I cut the bone off of the end of the thigh opposite the leg, then separate the leg and thigh. I also take off any extra skin hanging off the side.
I take a few of the thighs and remove the skin completely and take out the bone. Then I freeze all the chicken in meal sized portions to pull out as needed.
After that, I put all the bones and leftover skin into a stock pot. I put the skin in with it because later when it cools, it’s easier to peel it off the top.
Next, I add some aromatic veggies like celery, onions, and smashed garlic cloves. For a darker, richer stock roast the bones first and also add carrots. It’s not necessary to peel the onions or garlic. They will be strained out, and the nutrients from the skins will be in the stock. If you wash your carrots well you don’t need to peel them either.
Also throw in some black peppercorns, bay leaves, and whole sprigs of thyme.
Then, fill the pot with cold water. You want to start with cold water because sstarting with hot water draws out more impurities and clouds the stock. I know some chefs that even start their stocks with straight ice.
Turn on the heat and let it ride for an hour or two. I like to get it almost to a boil then cut back the heat and let it simmer, never letting it come to a full boil.
Next, strain it into another pot.
From here you have a couple of options..
You can cool it now and then skim the fat off the top, and use it, or you can reduce it even more for a thicker, more gelatinous stock. Either option is good, it just depends on how thick you want it to be. Since I’m going to be using it for stew, I’m going to reduce it some more.
After it cools, the fat comes right off!
What your left with is a luxurious flavorful liquid that can be used as a soup base, in velouté, substituted for water when making rice, and much more!
I don’t add salt to my stocks. I save that for when I make the actual dish. Many of the store bought broths and stocks have salt in them. I prefer to make my own so I have complete control over what goes in.
With store bought stocks you also never know for sure the quality of the ingredients. The best stocks use high quality items and the only way to know for sure is to make it yourself!
It is time consuming, but luckily it freezes well so you can make a big batch and freeze it in smaller portions. This way you can just pull out a little at a time as needed.
Next time you feel like homemade chicken noodle soup, you’re ready to go!
Broth is even easier because you don’t use bones, just the meat and veggies. This is an even quicker and simpler way to make your soup base, although it won’t be as thick and full bodied. It will still be delicious!
For chicken broth, just throw some skinless boneless chicken, onions, celery, smashed garlic cloves, bay leaves, and a sprig of thyme into a pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a simmer. Simmer about an hour or so. Strain out the broth, and use the chicken for chicken salad, or whatever you’d like!