Homemade chicken stock
This is how I make chicken soup, but I've used the broth as chicken stock as well.
Whole chicken cut up
a few carrots, halved crosswise and then lengthwise
a couple celery stalks, halved crosswise
a couple parsnips, halved like the carrots
a yellow onion, halved but not peeled
a handful of parsley
a handful of dill
a tablespoon of kosher salt
a garlic clove, crushed
a couple pairs of chicken feet
Put chicken in bottom of pot, add other ingredients, add water to cover all, bring just to a boil then turn down to simmer and let cook for two hours, skimming surface of scum occasionally. Remove chicken and veggies and stick in fridge until fat congeals on top. Scrape off fat and strain.
I actually stuff a chicken with a head of garlic, onions and a lemon and roast it upside down. Then, when it's done, I tear the meat off and throw everything (including the gravy) into a pasta pot with the strainer inside, add a carrot and a few celery sticks and simmer for however long i takes until I think it tastes right. I usually add salt to that. Cooking hte chicken upside down makes the meat incredibly tender and roasting first gives the broth a great, full flavor.
All the recipes will work, but they all leave out one almost essential ingredient - feet! If you live in a city with a Chinese or Mexican market, you should be able to get chicken feet, and they should be cheap (cheep, cheep). Throw in a few at the start and discard when you get rid of all the bones & other remains. They'll add a richness and depth to your broth that you'll never get anywhere else. My Jewish grandmother, mother and aunts would never have made chicken soup any other way.
Of course I have to do it different ... but it works for me.
I cook a lot of Chinese, so I don't want herbs or any other thing in my chicken broth (not even salt) - if I want more, I'll add it later.
So, cut the chicken into parts. Boil in plenty of water - it's going to take a while, perhaps half an hour - thick parts should be checked with a knife to see if the inside's done. Some people advise bringing to a fast boil, covering, and turning off the heat, and come back in an hour, for best results cooking the meat.
Remove chicken from water and allow to cool at least an hour - then the skin and bones go back into the pot, the meat goes in your freezer. There will be plenty of "I just can't get it off" meat on the bones, plus plenty of "that's mostly gristle" meat. Bring back to a boil and simmer, covered, for at least another hour.
Allow to cool, dip out the solids as best you can, then strain more thoroughly. When thoroughly cooled, refrigerate overnight in TALL containers (plastic juice pitchers work well) - in the morning, discard the hardened fat from the top of the pitchers, and freeze the broth in whatever size containers you wish.
You can always add salt later, or herbs or whatever ... but doing it this simply gives you broth for Chinese sauces and soups without interference.
I'm taking a guess here that the only reason you don't want to cook it a long time is to avoid overcooking the meat (but that otherwise you wouldn't mind cooking the stock a long time). If I'm correct, then one of the following will yield a truly rich stock (i.e., cooked long enough that the bones release their collage and you get a gelatin-rich broth) and usable chicken meat...
If you want boiled chicken for some reason (e.g., enchilada stuffing), throw the whole bird in as metioned below, pull it out when it's just done, shred all the meat off the bones, then put the bones back in the water and continue to cook like a regular stock.
If you want to use the meat for other purposes, debone the raw chicken, make a traditional stock with the bones and prepare the meat as you desire. You can leave the rib bones attached to the breast since they don't contribute much to a stock anyway. I did this recently and made not only a great & rich soup, but also stuffed chicken legs and brined & roasted breats, all of which were fantastic. One $10 organic chicken and another $10 on veggies was enough for dinner for two for Sunday thru Thursday.
If you really just don't have the time to cook the stock a long time, I've also heard that the CI method suggested below is a great way to go in that situation. I haven't tried it myself, however.
This sounds like what I should do (I want to use the chicken and the broth for a jambalaya). How much longer do I need to simmer after I shred the meat off the bones? What about the skin? Does that go in too? Am I correct to assume that it should be simmered covered? Thanks for the help.
re: Hoyt Pollard
I simmer my stocks for 6-8 hours, until the bones become brittle and crumble when you squeeze them. That ensure that you got all of the collagen out of them. Don't put the skin in, the only thing it'll add is fat that you'll have to remove later (instead, fry it up into little crispy bits that you can sprinkle on top of your dishes). Once you're done skimming any scum off the top, I think it's fine to cover it.
Alton Brown does a good job of explaining the making of stock. I recommend reading the transcript and stock recipe at this link:
Imho, no chicken stock recipe comes close to the results I get with Cooks Illustrateds Quick Chicken stock recipe. It only cooks a total of about 40 minutes so the chicken is not only useable, it tastes better. The secret is they brown 2 inch pieces of a whole chicken,about four pounds, with onion chunks, then they turn it down to low, cover the pot, and leave it for twenty minutes. The pieces are in there dry right, after the twenty minutes when you uncover it, there is like a ton of dark brown delicious chicken essence. So then you add 2 quarts of boiling water, 2 bay leaves, and 2 teaspoons salt. You simmer it twenty more minutes, and your done. Strain it, pull the meat, and its ready. Btw, CI did a test and found that carrots, celery, etc. do not add anything to the stock. When I am wanting really nicely cooked breast meat I reserve them and just add them for the twenty minute simmer. They come out perfectly poached and full of flavor. Try it, you want go back! Anyone who uses it, write back and let me know!
re: Becca Porter
I agree the the CI method is good when you want a relatively quick broth. I wouldn't call it stock, though, since it doesn't cook nearly long enough. Also, my experience with the CI recipe is that it only slightly gels, not gels solid when cold like a good stock should. The lovely unctuous (but by no means fatty) texture of a truly long-cooked bone stock is definitely missing in this broth. However, it's fine if you're just going to make some chicken soup to have pretty quickly.
This may seem like a "duh" suggestion but: when I want to actually serve chicken in the broth, I do what CI has suggested for other recipes. With a good organic chicken (I try to get the older, tougher, more flavorful birds, 4 pounds and up), I'll remove part of the breast meat and thigh meat, raw, and save in the refrigerator until the stock is done.
With the rest of the meat and bones (and some vinegar, and vegetables, and parsley at the end) I make the stock. I simmer for a minimum of 6 hours, and sometimes up to 24 hours (I have a flametamer which helps). When the stock is done, strained, chilled, and defatted, then I poach the cut-up raw reserved chicken in it to serve as soup. I generally add the chicken and any veggies I'll be serving in it (leeks, carrots, celery) first, then add the smaller chicken pieces later.
This makes for fresh-tasting veggies and meat, with a slow-cooked stock.
There's a pretty big difference in texture between the CI 40-minute method, and a 24hour stock. That texture is a big deal to me -- maybe not as big a deal to others.
carrots, celery and onions
chicken, well cleaned & rinsed
water to cover
gently, gently, gently simmer until meat begins to come off the bones... (if you boil the broth will cloud and chicken will overcook).
don't forget to skim the scum off top as you go.
strain, discard vegies, bouquet. de bone the chicken and save. chill and de-fat the broth. voila!