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your best chicken stock recipe

I just made chicken stock from a whole roasted chicken carcass with veggies and herbs for the first time. It is cooling now, and I haven't tasted it yet, but am excited since I make a lot of roast chicken and the stock was so simple to make. I would like to know your tried and true recipe for homemade chicken stock so that I can perfect my recipe. TIA.

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  1. Chicken carcass, carrot, onion, celery, a few peppercorns. Water to cover. Couple of hours simmering. Leave to cool overnight. Skim any crap. Sieve.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Harters

      This is my method. I don't use a recipe...just throw it what I have in the fridge and pantry. Nothing that I've added or subtracted makes a big difference, to be honest.

    2. I only use chicken bones that have been roasted and I crack the large round bones with the back of a chefs knife before simmering. I cover with plenty of water and add about a cup of white wine, something dry. Flat left over champagne works well. I sometimes add chinese rice wine, don't know its proper name but it has a deep brown color. A bay leaf or two ,some black pepper, bring to boil and simmer two hours. When you use bones that have been roasted it generally has a lot less fat. Pour through fine sieve. Let it cool and remove excess fat and mix it with your dog's meal. Then I add dried shitake mushrooms, lemon grass, garlic and ginger. Simmer until mushrooms become tender. Serve with rice noodles, spinach, tofu and salmon. Great for cold and snowy nights.

      3 Replies
      1. re: CCSPRINGS

        Reading my year old post... Sounds delicious!
        I have a big pot of stock on the stove right now, only difference I have 3 pounds of browned short ribs added to the chicken bones and I am cooking it for at least 8 hours. The house smells great. The stock has a rich brown color. Tomorrow sounds like the coldest day of winter so far. Dinner will be fantastic.

        1. re: CCSPRINGS

          Love this twist (as I'll call it b.c I haven't seen Stock done way). I'm cooking my first every stock right now and we too are getting nailed this week with ridiculously cold weather. This is gonna come in great for a warm supper one of those nights

      2. I make it in the crock pot - cooks all night, in the a.m. you're left with lovely stock: http://www.semisweetonline.com/2010/1...


        7 Replies
        1. re: gansu girl

          +1 to this, although my method is even simpler: take raw whole chicken, including neck and whatever else came stuffed into the cavity, add to crock pot, cover, cook on low for 8-10 hours or until you have time to deal with it. When it's done, I pull as much meat off the bones as I have patience for, strain the rest, cool and de-fat, then freeze. The meat gets used in any application where it doesn't need to be super-moist and flavorful, like a casserole or a pot pie; the fat goes into a container in the freezer, where I use it for assorted things where chickeny fat would be useful, like sauteeing veggies for the aforementioned pot pie.

          I should warn you, though, that there are those who believe that good stock can never be made in the slow cooker, that if you're making your stock properly the resulting meat should be inedible, etc. Those people are probably technically right, in a culinary-school sense, but I find that the results from the above method work well enough for me, both cooking- and lifestyle-wise.

          1. re: darklyglimmer

            "I should warn you, though, that there are those who believe that good stock can never be made in the slow cooker"

            Really? Why? I find it works perfectly. No scum to skim. Clear, golden, gelatinous stock. My method is similar to yours except I cut the breast meat off the chicken to save for a dish calling for boneless/skinless breasts. I cut the legs off for roasting. The rest of the carcass, wings, neck get tossed into my small-ish rice cooker/slow cooker and set to cook for 8 hours. I ladle it into quart Ball jars and freeze. Yummy.

            1. re: Jen76

              It works perfectly for me, too, and I've never done it any other way, but I've definitely gotten a stern talking-to about it once or twice on CH. Just one of those things that pushes people's Right Way/Wrong Way buttons, I guess.

              1. re: darklyglimmer

                Interesting. I've made stock on the stovetop, in the oven, in a pressure cooker, and in a slow cooker. Slow cooker remains my favorite super-easy method with pressure cooker second.

                On another note, I don't add vegetables or herbs at all until I make the final soup. Keeps the flavor pure meat and flexible for many uses.

                1. re: Jen76

                  I also make it many different ways. My favorite is to make stock "Gel" in the slow cooker on high for an hour or two- then low for 24 hours. I use roasted bones (cracked with a cleaver), a few clean egg shells, and add a good "slosh" of apple cider vinegar to draw out the minerals and extra calcium. This results in a gel so thick that I have to scoop it out of the jars when cold. I no longer season it with anything so it is as versatile as it gets. I enjoy drinking a cup of it (salted) when I have a cold. Good stuff!

            2. re: darklyglimmer

              That is surprising. I have found it the best way to make a good stock. I can cook it for hours on end without worrying about the stove. And, pretty much everything in it comes out completely inedible. I would never eat anything I made stock with. I always make mine with leftover cooked bones, skin, veggies, garlic, etc...

              1. re: sisterfunkhaus

                Yep, I've definitely heard other people on CH say that, but the meat in mine comes out just fine. It's not flavorful enough to serve it on its own, but - as I said - in a pot pie or casserole, I find it to be totally edible. Particularly if I use my homemade stock in the sauce. :)

          2. Using a carcass from a roasted bird (I freeze mine until I have four or five to make a bigger batch) just like you described produces lovely stock, but classic stock comes from raw carcasses. Try simmering a whole raw bird with veggies etc. for about an hour, remove all the useful meat, then return the bones to the pot for another couple of hours. The resulting stock will be much milder than from a roasted bird, but, after reducing by about 50%, this is essentially a basic version of what most classic cooking calls for.

            The saved meat will be rather bland, but definitely useful in sandwiches or salad.

            1. I use chicken necks and backs (some saved from butterflied chicken, some bought from the butcher), mirepoix (carrots, onions, and celery), and an herb sachet (thyme, bay leaves and peppercorns). Then, the extra special secret ingredient is......FEET! The feet make an amazingly gelatinous stock that will turn quite jello-y in the fridge. I get my feet from a local ethnic market.

              I bring the raw necks, backs, and feet to a very light simmer, then turn the heat to low. Scum will rise to the top, I remove this with a small strainer. After an hour or so, the scum subsides, and I add the mirepoix and herb sachet. I let the stock simmer for at least 12 hours, checking on it from time to time to make sure the water level has not dropped too much (it should cover the bones by about an inch). Turn off the heat and let the stock pot come to room temperature, pour through strainer into some sort of container, and put in fridge. The next day, remove the fat from the top; save for another use (I've been known to add this to veggies or rice/quinoa, or give it to my cats if they've been good, or use it to make confit). I reduce, flash freeze in ice-cube trays, and add to soups, stews, and sauces.

              For broth, I just use a roast chicken carcass, or poach a chicken in water, using the same mirepoix and herbs. Usually I cook it until I feel it will make a good soup, and don't worry about clarifying it like I do with stock. I think of broth as more of a soup base and stock as a shot of flavor.

              1 Reply
              1. re: caseyjo

                Even though it's been a year since you posted this, I just came across it. I second the feet! They're full of glucosamine, very nutritious and healthy, and sets up so incredibly gelatinous, yeah. They are cheap in my Asian grocery as well ($1.99/lb), much cheaper than buying packages of chicken wings/necks/etc.

              2. I also use chicken backs and necks. I sometimes roast the bones first, then throw in the pot with water to cover and carrot, bay, onion, peppercorns, celery. I have had great luck with the backs and necks, and it is always an adventure to find them! Whole Foods usually sets out packages of the backs labeled "chicken bones for soup" and I have found the necks at an old-fashioned meat market.

                Sometimes I add 1 peeled potato, 1 fresh ripe tomato, and half a red bell pepper, as suggested in Marcella Hazan's Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking in her recipe for basic homemade meat broth. She describes her broth (not stock) as "light bodied and soft spoken, helping the dishes of which it is a part to taste better without calling attention to itself." That is just what I am seeking (this is a stock/broth distinction, of course).

                I simmer for a few hours (removing scum from the top), strain, put in fridge, skim fat layer off the top the next day. I freeze some in labeled 1 or 2 cup ziplock baggies, and some in ice cube trays.

                It is so deeply satisfying to add homemade broth/stock to any dish, isn't it? I made a butternut gratin for Thanksgiving and it brought me such pleasure to pull my frozen broth out and add all of the homemade goodness to the dish. Same with everything else I make!

                2 Replies
                1. re: peppermint_sky

                  lately i've had cheap access to bags of chicken heads and those a re a great addition to stock. i forgo celery, disliking the bitter flavor it imparts.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    I have never found any bitterness from the celery. I think the celery leaves, not stalks, impart bitterness, right? I don't use the leaves at all. Just the stalks.

                2. I have two basic types of stock (big/slow and small/ quick):

                  For a large batch, which I will usually pressure can and get 12 quarts or so, I use a combination of raw and roasted chicken bones, feet if I can find them, onion, celery, carrot, some peppercorns and sometimes parsley or a bay leaf, depending on mood. I will put the bones in a 20 quart stockpot, cover with cold water, bring to a simmer on the stove top, skim any foam, and once the foam subsides, I put the entire pot with a lid on it in a 200 degree oven for 24 hours. Cool, remove fat, filter, bring back to a boil and then pressure can.

                  For a small batch of two quarts or so, I will use my electric pressure cooker. Same ingredients (just much less, of course) in the cooker on high pressure for 90 mins with natural pressure release. Cool, remove fat, filter and pour in to quart containers or ice cube trays and freeze. This almost always gives me a perfect gelled stock.

                  Good luck!

                  1. I use a version of a recipe that I first saw years ago in Gourmet. A large chicken (say, 4 or 5 pounds) cut into pieces, less the breasts, which I bone out and reserve for another use, and including the gizzard and heart but not the liver. I'll happily substitute chicken legs or leg quarters or backs or whole, small fryers if I find them on a good sale. One big carrot or two medium ones cut into a few pieces, a medium-large onion quartered (I leave the papery skin on if I want a darker stock), a large celery rib or two medium ones cut into a few pieces, about a dozen whole, black peppercorns, a large bay leaf, and about a dozen parsley stems. Everything goes into a stock pot with cold water just to cover. On the stovetop, I bring the stock to a simmer, then turn the temperature to low and leave it overnight. I let it cool just until it's easy to handle, pour it through a sieve into a fat separator, allow a few minutes for the fat to come to the top, and then pour it from the separator through a very fine-mesh sieve into containers for freezing. I end up with a very clear stock. There's no skimming because the liquid doesn't get hot enough to make foam. The meat is pretty tasteless afterward (the cats sometimes eat it), but the stock is very good. I sometimes double or triple this recipe by multiplying the ingredients.

                    I use carcasses from roasted chickens to make stock with the same recipe, but the resulting stock invariably tastes a bit like the roasted chicken, and I like it best to make gravy for the next roasted chicken. You need more than one roasted chicken carcass to make an appreciable amount of good stock, however.

                    1. If I have to pick one, I say my best chicken stock thus far (at least more interesting one) is the Chinese supreme stock (上湯). It is not purely chicken I suppose.

                      Ok, for more pure chicken stock, I use uncooked deboned chicken and onion and salt and ground pepper. It not as aromatic as roasted chicken, but it has a more clear favor and is easier to coup with many other things I do.

                      1. By far, my best stock followed J Child's brown stock recipe. Brown the chix part including the wrapped up insides in a bit of oil. In the same pan brown your vegies and deglaze the pan. My daughter stood at the stove taking taste after taste. A big cullinary breakthru for me that has also helped in my sauces. I also prefer the color/appearance of a browned stock.

                        1. I take the carcass from a roast before it is picked clean, pile it with a quartered onion, a quartered carrot or two, and a couple of stalks of celery, pile it in a mound on a half jelly roll pan, and roast at 450 F. until brown. Then I put in a 10 gallon stockpot, add three palmfuls of salt, about a dozen peppercorns, four or live sprigs of thyme, four or five sprigs of flat leaf parsley, and a couple of bay leaves, broken in two. I use all fresh herbs so adjust accordingly if using dried. Bring it to a boil, skim, and turn back to a smile for three or four hours. Strain in a Chinois. Mmmmm.

                          1. My chicken stock went to another level when I learned to absolutely pack the pot with chicken carcasses (I buy them at chinese markets here, $1 for 3 carcasses) so I buy 2 bags for $2 and it packs my stock pot full.

                            I used to skimp because I used chicken parts which were more expensive, and my stock was weak. You really need to jam pack the pot with chicken methinks.

                            1. We like to buy organic chickens, so have found a way to get three meals out of one bird. The breasts are cut off and used for a boneless prep, the thigh/legs salted and frigged for braising a two days later. The rest of the bird is put into stock pot, water to cover, yellow onion with skin for color, carrot, celery if we have it. Cook for 4 hours, skimming when necessary. Put into quart containers into freezer, those get used for risotto, fill two ice cube trays and put into container once frozen, those get used for pan sauces. If my cats weren't so picky, there'd also be a meal for them, but sometimes I pull that depleted meat off the bone and put it out for whatever comes by in the night.

                              1. I make chicken stock 2 ways:

                                1- Using the carcass from a roasted chicken, along with peppercorns, onion, carrot, and celery. Simmer 6-8 hours. Chill. Strain.

                                2- Using a whole raw chicken; poach the chicken gently with peppercorns, onion, carrot, and celery for about an hour or until just cooked. Remove the chicken and cool it enough to remove the meat (to be used for another dish), then put the carcass back in and continue your simmering for 5-7 hours.

                                Other ingredients can be used for different flavors: Fresh ginger, thyme, chili flakes, whatever you want (not all together, though!)

                                1. One other note: If you use the carcass of a roasted chicken, be sure to include any leftover pan juices in your stock!!!

                                  1. I have become a stock fanatic. And while for years all I would use is chicken stock, lately I've become addicted to a really good, clear vegetable stock as well. I use stock all the time and even love to just drink it! Nothing better than a terrific stock. Here is my approach:

                                    I have three variations on stock.

                                    1) EASY/FAST: The easiest way is to throw all your ingredients (see below) in a pot filled with water, bring to a boil, then simmer a couple of hours, occasionally skimming the foam off the top. After two hours, strain the stock, cool, then store in the fridge/freezer. This creates a wonderful, clear stock perfect for risottos or as the base for soups.

                                    2) OVERNIGHT: A trick I learned from The Splendid Table is to start the stock before you go to bed, put on your lowest level on the burner and let gently simmer all night. This makes an incredibly rich stock and is well worth the time.

                                    3) DARK: Roast your meaty bones before starting the stock. Put your chicken/beef/etc bones on a roasting tray and roast an hour or two at 350. This makes a dark, very rich stock perfect for stews and braises. You can throw some onions and carrots into the roasting pan if you like.

                                    All three turn out wonderful stocks. For vegetables I always use lots of carrots and celery cut up into large chunks, making sure to use a lot of celery leaves. I use 3 or 4 onions cut in half (keep the skin on!), a couple of tomatoes in large chunks, a handful of peppercorns, a few cloves, flat leaf parsley, 5 or 6 cloves of garlic smashed (leave the skin on as well) and, occasionally, a lemon. I've come to love the vegetable stock this mix makes so much that veggie stock tends to be the stock I make the most often. Wow, is it good. I've thrown in a little fennel and/or some greens (chard/kale) if I have them in the fridge at the time.

                                    If making meat stock, I put in the meat bones in with the vegetables if I am short on time. If you have time, you can bring the meat bones to a boil first, then drain, which gets rid of a lot of detritus you end up skimming off the top. I make stock so often I have a pot I use mostly for stock. It is a tall pot, with a pasta drain insert, which makes it very easy. You will the pot with water, all the bones and vegetables go into the insert and when the stock is done, I just pull the insert out and let sit over the pot at an angle to drain. Below is a link to a pot similar to the one I use:


                                    1. lulou23, that's exactly how I make my stock for chicken, i.e., roasting the whole chicken, then continuing with the soup.

                                      For chicken stock with other usage, I get a few lbs. of chicken backs and necks, and roast them with mirepoux before adding them to the pot with salt, black peppercorns and herbs. I strain it a couple of times through cheese cloth, and de-fat it a bit.

                                      1. Without changing anyone's ingredients (raw/cooked bones, cracked bones, browned bones, meat, veg, liquids, etc.) from any of the posts, another technique to acheive the same or even enhanced flavor in a shorter amount of time rather than a 4 hour process is to use a pressure cooker.

                                        1) Place the bones and/or meat along with the liquids in a pressure cooker and cook at 15 psi for one hour.

                                        2) Use the quick release method to remove the lid. Put into the pot the vegs and replace the lid.

                                        3) Cook at 15 psi for 20 minutes and use the natural release method. Use immediately or let it sit overnight,

                                        To enhance the flavor even more or just to make a stock if you have no leftover chicken, brown some ground chicken and use in step 1.

                                        1. Forgot to mention (hope I'm not repeating what anyone else has said) that you shouldn't boil it hard - keep it to a gentle simmer.

                                          1. I used to make my stock on the stove and it was ok, never anything to brag about. After reading Michael Ruhlman's Twenty, I made a batch in the oven. Now, I will never make it any other way.

                                            What I did is put all the leftover chicken carcass (from a roasted chicken) including the neck & skin in a large stock pot. Then I covered it with water, about 2 or 3 inches over the chicken. I popped it in a 225 degree oven for about 8 hours. I didn't add any onion or carrot until about 6 hours in. I let it cool & strained it & let me tell you it was the best stock I've ever made. It never came to a boil so it didn't get cloudy, it gelled up beautifully in the fridge and the taste was pure gold.

                                            Seriously, give it a try and see what you think. Ruhlman has never steered me wrong and if you get the chance, buy Ration & Twenty, they are 2 essential cookbooks every cook should own.

                                            1. I usually use whatever vegetables are rolling around in the crisper and whatever I have saved up in the freezer.

                                              My "musts":
                                              - roasted chicken carcass
                                              - at least 2 bulbs of garlic
                                              - onions
                                              - bunch of parsley and thyme
                                              - peppercorns

                                              Other than that, I don't think there is a real "recipe" for chicken stock. I usually make a batch when I have a bunch of stuff left over.