This chicken stock recipe produces a wonderful flavor foundation for many of your favorite soups.
Your soup making experience won't be complete until you have made your own stock, at least once.
As it simmers on the stove, allow yourself to relax and do something you find enjoyable.
Curl up with a book, watch the rain, sit by the fire — and let your thoughts drift away.
Quotation Source: Cook, John. "This Moment." In The Book of Positive Quotations, 2nd ed. Minneapolis, MN: Fairview Press, 1997.
5-6 pounds of chicken thighs and/or bony pieces*
1/4 cup dry sherry (or 2 tablespoons cider vinegar)
24 cups fresh, cold water
2 large carrots, peeled, cut in thirds
2 fresh stalks of celery, washed and cut in thirds
3 medium yellow onions, peeled and quartered
1 head of garlic, cut in half around the middle
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
20 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 oz. fresh thyme
1. Layer chicken pieces into bottom of a 12-quart stock pot. Add dry sherry (or cider vinegar) and 24 cups fresh, cold water.
Bring to a simmer -- reduce heat so that only a few bubbles intermittently reach the surface. Boiling causes flavor to escape during evaporation and clouds the stock.
2. Using a ladle, skim the surface of the stock periodically during the first half hour of cooking to remove clouding froth and excess fat.
3. After 1 hour, add carrots, celery, onions, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns, parsley, and thyme.
4. Continue to simmer for at least 3 more hours.
5. Remove pot from heat and let it cool for 30 minutes.
6. Strain the contents through a fine-mesh strainer.
7. To properly cool, lower the pan of freshly strained stock into a sink filled with a few inches of ice water.
8. In two hours or sooner, the temperature of the stock needs to be cooled to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Stirring the stock will help release the heat and promote faster cooling.
9. If you are planning to freeze the stock, divide it among freezer safe containers now.
10. Label the containers with the date, type of stock, and quantity. This information will be very helpful later when you are thawing the stock for recipes.
11. Place the newly filled and labeled containers in the refrigerator overnight or until the contents are cold.
12. If you wish, the cap of fat that forms on the refrigerated stock can be easily removed with a spoon and discarded.
13. Refrigerated stock should be used within three days. However, frozen stock stored in airtight, freezer safe containers will remain fresh and flavorful for up to three months.
Yields about 22 cups stock
*Feel free to use other cuts of chicken, but thighs add lots of flavor. Chicken necks are good to use in chicken stock recipes because of their high collagen content. However, chicken backs or other bony pieces are also good choices.
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