Chicken Stock

With the possible exception of water, no liquid is more useful in the kitchen than chicken stock. Besides being the starting point for chicken soup, it makes a delicious cooking liquid for rice and a versatile base for sauces. Of course you can buy reasonably good chicken stock ready-made but making your own is easy and, since it uses scraps from other meals, nearly free. I keep a bag of chicken backs, wing tips, and other bones in the freezer; when I have accumulated a couple pounds, I make stock.

Note that I do not salt my stock and make it a bit less concentrated that some recipes call for. I find that this makes it more versatile since you can always boil it to concentrate and salt as needed.

Ingredients

2 pounds assorted chicken bones

1 large onion, coarsely chopped (if you have leek trimmings use them along with or instead of the onion)

1 carrot, scrapped or peeled and coarsely chopped

1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

4 quarts cold water

Sachet containing 1 glove crushed garlic, 6 black peppercorns, 1 bay leaf, 5 or 6 parsley sprigs or 2 tsp. dried parsley, 1 tsp. dried thyme, and  ½ tsp. each dried sage and dried rosemary

Method

Put everything in a large stock pot and bring to a boil over high heat. When it begins to boil turn the heat down to maintain a low simmer with pot partially covered for 4 or 5 hours. Make sure to keep it at a gentle simmer not a boil or the stock will be cloudy. Skim as needed.  Uncover and continue to simmer for another hour to concentrate the flavors. You will probably need to raise the heat a bit to maintain the simmer. Strain into a large bowl or another stock pot and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the fat from the top of the stock. Strain through cheesecloth into 1 quart freezer containers. Freeze for up to 3 months if it lasts that long.

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