I always keep my eyes open for a good deal on chicken wings, backs, and necks or cheap whole chickens when I’m shopping.
I get two things out of a pot of chicken stock. First, I strain the stock and freeze it in approximately 2-cup portions in sealable plastic bags. Then I pick the bones, chop up the vegetables, stir the skimmed chicken fat back in, and make my own doggone delicious homemade dog food for Ruby.
I’ve never found a canned or boxed chicken stock that even comes close to the homemade version. But you can substitute low-sodium canned chicken broth in our recipes. Regular canned chicken broth is too salty. To get a nice clear stock, don’t let the stock boil hard. After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to a steady simmer. Allow hot stock to cool before you chill it. It’s best to put a larger container of hot stock in a larger bowl of ice water, stirring until cool, then cover and refrigerate.
Yield: Makes 1 gallon
4 pounds chicken bones or wings, backs, and necks
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery ribs, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Roast the chicken bones on a baking sheet until browned, about 45 minutes to an hour. Toss the onions, carrots, and celery with the oil in a bowl. Spread the vegetables on another baking sheet and roast until browned, about 40 minutes.
In a large pot over high heat, combine all the ingredients and add 6 quarts cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 hours, skimming occasionally to remove any foam from the surface.
Strain the stock into a large bowl and discard the solids. Let the stock sit for 5 to 10 minutes so the fat floats to the surface, then skim off the fat, or refrigerate the stock overnight and remove the fat the next day.
I roast the bones and vegetables for a deeper flavor, but you can make a flavorful stock if you simply combine the bones and vegetables with the water in a large pot. If you’re using a whole chicken instead of bones, skip the roasting step.
Chicken stock can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for a few days or in the freezer for several weeks. Bring to a boil before using.