This is a recipe for a classic French-style homemade chicken stock. It’s vastly superior to any store-bought stock, and is one of the main ingredients that distinguishes home and restaurant cooking. I like making chicken stock because it’s easy compared to beef stock, and improves just about everything – the main goal here!

Large pot of Homemade chicken stock being made

Chicken stock recipe

Chicken stock is made by infusing water with the flavours of chicken, fresh root vegetables and herbs. Good restaurants always make their own stocks, and is the secret to why their dishes often have that richer, deeper, “restaurant-quality” taste to them!

If you’re not convinced why you’d bother making homemade chicken stock, let me persuade you:

  • Better flavour – Store-bought stock does not compare to real, freshly made stock. Just one taste is all you need to know this!
  • Richer mouthfeel – Homemade chicken stock has abundant gelatin from the chicken bones and tissues, which gives it a full-bodied richness and mouthfeel when used in soups and stews. Store-bought stock lacks this quality.
  • More versatile because it’s unsalted – Store-bought stock is almost always salted. This is fine when used at normal concentrations, but if stock is reduced a lot when making ragus, sauces and so on, the salt can become excessive – yet there is little you can do about it. Homemade stock on the other hand is unsalted, so you will never have this problem and can control seasoning in the finished dish.
  • Making jus and reductions – Fine dining reduction sauces such as jus rely heavily on the natural thickening power of gelatin to create that luscious, silky consistency. You can reduce a store-bought stock 90% on the other hand, and it will still be watery!
  • It’s surprisingly low-effort – While I’m the first to confess that beef stock does require commitment and lots of time to make (but it’s worth it!), chicken stock is much less maintenance. Just plonk everything in a pot and let it simmer for 3 hours, and strain!
Ladle scooping up Homemade chicken stock

Bones for chicken stock

I use chicken bones to make chicken stock. I find that it makes a great all-rounder clear stock with good flavour at store bought strength. Specifically, I use chicken carcasses (see photo below) which are economical and readily available here in Sydney from butchers and even grocery stores.

Some recipes will opt to use chicken pieces with meat and skin to make stock. I share my thoughts on this below! (Spoiler – I don’t agree!)

Raw chicken bones carcasses for Homemade chicken stock
Raw chicken carcasses for homemade chicken stock.

Here are my thoughts on other chicken cuts that are sometimes used for chicken stock:

  • Breast – I just think it’s wasteful. The cooked chicken is flavourless (because it’s all in the stock) and stripped of all nutrition. So you can’t really use it for anything, other than perhaps giving it to your dog! Also, because chicken breast is fairly neutral in flavour, you need a lot to extract enough flavour to make a decent stock.
  • Skin on bone in chicken pieces, like thigh and drumsticks – While they make very flavourful stocks, the skin and fat makes it quite fatty. A little too fatty for some purposes, such as making nice clear chicken noodle soups.
  • Wing tips – If you’ve got some, throw them in! But to make a whole batch of chicken stock, you’d need a LOT of wing tips.
  • Whole chicken – I find that you can’t extract enough flavour from a whole chicken for the amount of water required to cover it completely to make a proper flavourful stock. In fact, even when making a traditional chicken noodle soup using a whole chicken, I always add a small touch of stock powder to give the soup stock a little boost. Otherwise, it’s just a bit bland!
  • Giblets – Giblets refers to the heart, liver and gizzards of chicken that are sometimes bundled up and stuffed inside the cavity of store bought whole chicken. They are provided with the intention to make flavourful stocks and gravies. If you have some, by all means throw them in! But I wouldn’t make a whole batch of stock using just giblets

Vegetables and herbs for stock

Here are the other ingredients in homemade chicken stock:

Ingredients in Homemade chicken stock
  • Bay leaves, thyme, parsley, black peppercorns – Herb and spice aromatics, fairly standard used in most stocks, including beef stock and vegetable stock.
  • Onion, celery and carrot – Again, familiar building-block ingredients in most stocks which add subtle sweetness and flavour.
  • Cider vinegar – A little vinegar helps extract nutrients out of the bone into the broth. Another benefit of using chicken bones rather than meat to make chicken stock!

How to make chicken stock

The nice thing about chicken stock is that there’s very little preparation involved compared to, say, beef stock which calls for bones to be roasted then the roasting tray deglazed before we get to the simmering part!

How to make Homemade chicken stock
  1. Put everything in a large stock pot – Place the chicken carcasses, vegetables, herbs and water in a large 7 litre/quart stock pot. 3 litres / quarts of water should just about cover everything. If not, do a bit of squiggling to fit the carcasses etc more snugly in the pot, but don’t break or crush the bones else this will make the stock murky.

    We want everything submerged so the water gets infused with flavour. Don’t worry if a bit of bones is poking above the water surface because it will collapse once it starts cooking and end up under the water.

  2. Scoop off scum – Bring the pot to a rapid simmer over medium high heat. As it starts getting hot, you will see foam on the surface which is the impurities in the chicken. Scoop it off and discard to keep your stock nice and clear.
  3. Simmer 3 hours – Once the water comes to a rapid simmer, lower the heat so it’s bubbling very gently. Then leave to simmer for 3 hours with the lid off.
  4. After simmering – The photo above shows the water level after 3 hours. It’s reduced by around 1/3.

    Your chicken stock is done! Now we just need to strain it, remove excess fat (if you want) and store it! Here’s how:

How to make Homemade chicken stock
  1. Strain – Using the lid of the pot to hold the bones and vegetables in the pot, strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer into another pot or large bowl. I use a pot in case I need to reduce it.

    GOAL – 2 litres / quarts of chicken stock. In a perfect world, you will end up with 2 litres / quarts of chicken stock. But it is rarely a perfect world! And that’s ok. If you have less, just top up with water. If you ended up with more than 2.25 litres / quarts, then reduce it on the stove, else you run the risk of a weak flavoured chicken stock.

  2. Leftover bones and vegetables – These have been well stripped of flavour and nutrition, so they aren’t really of any use for human consumption. However, I do pick off excess meat for Dozer! But after that, I just discard the remnants.
  3. Voila! Admire your beautiful clear chicken stock!
  4. Divide between storage containers – At this point, I divide the stock up into jars or containers which allows the stock to cool faster.

    I store my chicken stock in 1 cup multiples which I find quite handy for use. Always label your containers with the quantity of chicken stock and date you made it!

How to make Homemade chicken stock
  1. Cool then fridge – Once the stock is cooled to room temperature, place them in the fridge to fully cool. Never put hot stock in the fridge!
  2. Solidified fat – As the stock cools, the fat will rise to the surface. Once fridge cold, the fat solidifies and turns white on the surface of the stock.

    You will also notice that the chicken stock firms up into a jelly-like consistency when cold. This is due to the gelatine which gives the stock richness that you don’t get in liquid store-bought stock. So basically, jelly consistency = good stock!

  3. Scrape off fat – Scrape the fat off the surface using spoon then discard. This is actually an optional step. It makes the stock nice and clear so it’s a great all rounder that can be used for everything from clear soups (like Chinese Noodle Soup) to rich sauces (like the sauce of a Creamy Chicken Pasta).

    But if you are intending to use the stock for things like stews and creamy sauces that do not require a clear, low fat chicken stock like we desire for things like Chicken Noodle Soup, then there is no need to remove the fat.

  4. Storing – Homemade stock will keep for 5 days in the fridge for 6 months in the freezer.

    Fridge cold chicken stock can be used as is, in the gelatinous jelly-like state. It melts into liquid form very quickly.

    If frozen, thaw overnight in the fridge, microwave, or run the container under hot water to loosen then melt in a saucepan. I use all methods depending on how much time I have!

Here’s a jar of refrigerated chicken stock which has had the fat scraped off the surface.

Jar of cold Homemade chicken stock
Pouring homemade chicken stock into pot for Chicken Fricasse
Pouring homemade chicken stock into a dish that I’ll be sharing on Wednesday! (PS It’s French – and it’s fabulous!)

What to do with homemade chicken stock

This homemade chicken stock can be used for any recipe that calls for chicken stock. It will elevate any dish from great homemade food to top-notch-restaurant quality!

Homemade stock particularly makes a difference in dishes that don’t have a heavy reliance on other flavours like spices, sauces or a heavy dose of cheese! Some examples include:

On Wednesday, I’m going to be sharing a recipe that really benefits from homemade chicken stock. It’s great made with store bought, but when made with homemade, it takes it to company-worthy! – Nagi x

Sumber : PasarQQ

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