Everyone seems to have a different way of making stock. Is there a right way and a wrong way? Maybe? Probably? But as far as I’m concerned, if your stock comes out clear with a beautiful golden hue, and has shimmering droplets of delicious chicken fat (a.k.a. schmaltz) floating on the top, then you’ve accomplished your stock goals!
I’ve made stock with leftover bones from store bought rotisserie chickens, I’ve made it with fresh bones purchased just for stock, and I’ve made it with whole raw birds. After much experimentation, my favorite combination utilizes leftover bones from chickens enjoyed in the past plus a few fresh thighs. The skin from the thighs renders delicious fat with the extra added bonus of tender, delicate chicken that you get to snack on while standing over the sink.
The best way to become a certified bone collector is just by keeping all your chicken bones in a ziplock bag in your freezer after you’re done eating chicken at home… sometimes I even take them home after a restaurant meal. My friends think it’s nuts, but I think it’s so much fun to make stock using scraps leftover from memorable meals.
Recipe yields about 2 gallons
3-4 pounds of chicken bones (about 2 carcasses)
3 chicken thighs (with bone and skin)
3 carrots, chopped haphazardly
1 onion, quartered
2 stalks of celery (don’t you wish you could just buy that?), chopped
½ of a bunch of parsley
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1. If the bones and thighs are already roasted (a.k.a leftovers) proceed to step number 2. If your bones and meat are raw, put them on a sheet pan and broil them until the bones are slightly bronzed and the skin is bubbling and golden (about 8-10 minutes depending on how hot your broiler is). Roasting the bones means that you will have to skim your stock less when it’s cooking, which is by far the nastiest and most time consuming part of stock making.
2. Select your largest pot (**preferably a 12 quart stock pot) and pile in your chicken, bones, carrots, parsley, onion, celery, bay leaf and peppercorns.
3. Fill the pot with water so there is about 2 inches of space left before the top of the pot.
4. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer and let it cook for a looonnngggg while (6-8 hours) until the stock is golden, aromatic and covered with a very thin layer of fat. If you notice evaporation, add more water as the stock simmers.
5. CAREFULLY strain the liquid into another large pot and discard the soggy, sad limp vegetables and bones that are left in the strainer. Keep the chicken meat from the thighs and eat it as a snack or save it to put on a salad or to utilize in future chicken soups.
6. I like to keep my stock unsalted and salt when I’m ready to make soup, but if you’d like to salt it now, you do you.
7. Ladle stock into containers, label them with when you made the stock, let them cool for an hour and then freeze or refrigerate!
** If you don’t own a large stock pot they’re usually very reasonably priced on Amazon and I suggest your run and grab yourself a stainless steel one. They end up coming in handy quite often!