Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chicken Stock

You brined a chicken. You roasted a chicken. You carved and ate a chicken. Now it's time to deal with the chicken remains. Why waste a perfectly good chicken carcass when you can boil it with aromatic vegetables and create a simple and delicious stock. If you aren't ready to make your stock the day after your chicken dinner, put the bones in a bag and freeze them until you are ready.


Carcass and bones of a 2-3 pound chicken
4 litres water
1 large whole onion, ends trimmed, cut in half (skin left on - adds colour!)
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
3-4 fresh or dried celery leaves (optional - but adds a great deal of flavour)
1 bay leaf (optional)


1. Add everything to a stock pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

2. Reduce to low and cover. Simmer on low for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours or overnight.

3. When you have simmered your stock for the desired length of time, remove bones and vegetables using tongs or a slotted spoon and discard. Pour stock through a fine strainer. Pour strained stock into jars. Leave overnight or in refrigerator until fat congeals at the top. Remove congealed fat with a spoon and discard or save for later use (chicken fat is referred to a Schmaltz. It is used in Jewish cooking, in place of butter or lard, as it is considered kosher).

4. Pour stock into ice cube trays and freeze. When frozen, pop out of trays and store in ziplock bags in the freezer. Most standard ice cube trays will produce a 1 ounce portion of stock, ready for use when needed. You could also measure one or two cups of stock into ziplock bags and freeze for times when you need larger portions. DO NOT freeze your stock in glass canning jars as the stock expands when it freezes and may cause your jar to crack and leak (as mine did, duh!). The fresh stock will keep in your refrigerator for 2-3 days. Use stock in soups, stews, sauces and stir fries.

*Seasoning your stock with salt and pepper is optional. I generally do not season my stock as it gives me more freedom to season later on when I use it in my cooking. Overly seasoned stock may interfere with the flavour and seasoning of the dish you are creating. Sometimes I will add a bit of fresh cracked pepper, but I never salt my stock.

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