Lynn's Chicken Stock

Stock is not the same as broth. Stock is made from bones: basically collagen and cartilage dissolved in water, so it's mostly protein. Broth is the water in which meat and/or vegetables have been cooked. Alton Brown offers a clear comparison between stock and broth.

I love stock because it 1) forms the basis for the best soups and sauces, and 2) is made from ingredients that would otherwise be thrown in the garbage. My basement freezer has one whole shelf devoted to containers of frozen stock.

Stock pots.jpg
Here's how I make chicken stock:

  • I collect chicken bones in a freezer bag until there's a giant bag full. Include the whole carcass. Okay to include skin and fat. (Fat will later be skimmed off.)
  • Put the bones into a large stock pot. Just dump in the whole bag. Add enough water to cover the bones.
  • Add any vegetables and/or vegetable trimmings you want. Maybe 2-3 cups. The classic stock has onion, celery, and carrots. I don't usually use carrots or celery because I prefer the taste of stock without them. I like onions in stock. But this is entirely a matter of taste. Don't add salt, but you could add herbs if you wanted (I don't).
  • Simmer the stock for a long time with the lid on. Recipes usually say 6-8 hours. But I leave mine simmering on a back burner of the stove for 2-3 days. This is good in the winter because it adds humidity to the house. Very slow simmer in a covered pot.
  • When all the collagen has been dissolved, the ends of the bones will look bare. At that point, take the stock off the stove and strain. I throw what's left of the bones and vegetables in the garbage.
  • Refrigerate the strained stock until any fat rises to the top. Skim off the layer of fat.
  • Portion the stock into freezer containers. The two-cup size works well for my cooking style. Some people prefer smaller portions.
  • The same technique will work for beef stock, veal stock, lamb stock, and turkey stock.
That's it: Boil a bunch of chicken bones, strain and freeze.

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