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Aug 1, 2011 06:49 PM

Amateur Chicken Stock Question

I don't understand where you're supposed to get the bones. Do I not throw Uncle Louie's chicken leg after he finishes eating it (disgusting) and save it for the pot? Do I buy a whole chicken and also use some meat from the chicken? And what's this I'm seeing about "don't use the liver?" There's no way I would recognize a liver if I saw one.

Whenever you watch of vid of someone making the stock, this step is always skipped.

Thank you for your time,

El Bandito

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  1. There are lots of ways of making chicken stock, but all involve bones. Some ways involve simmering a whole chicken in the pot (if there's a liver in the packaging, it will be in a pouch inside the body cavity; remove any pouches, and rinse away any obvious clingy organ tissue from within).

    I most often make stock mainly from chicken backs: whenever I see a good price on whole chickens, I cut the leg quarters away, then maybe remove wishbone and take off the breast meat (sometimes I leave the breast bone in, and then I'm left with chicken back and wings). Chop or break the leftover parts a bit, and you've got good stock starter. Simmer for 2-4 hours in water to cover the amount of bones you have, plus an onion cut in half (unpeeled) and maybe a dozen whole black peppercorns. Strain the liquid in a fine strainer.

    Some butchers will sell you chicken backs, by the way.

    Roasting or not roasting the chicken bones before the stock depends on what you want: I generally do not want the roasting flavors in my stock, so I avoid it. But it all depends on what you're aiming for. I've sometimes made a stock/broth from rotisserie chicken leftovers, a home-roasted bird, or the taken-home carcass of a restaurant bird.

    1. I save in the freezer bits and pieces of the chicken I don't use. Perhaps I cut off the wing tips or cut out the back when I butterflied a chicken. Or I'll save the carcass from a whole roast chicken, either one I bought or one I cooked myself. You can also just buy wings, legs, or whatever's cheap or on sale. If you live near a Chinatown, you can often buy raw carcasses for very little money. I've even been known to buy a whole chicken specifically to make stock, but I don't do that often. I wouldn't save Uncle Louie's chicken leg, although there really probably nothing wrong with doing so.

      The liver, if your chicken comes with one, will be in the cavity along with the heart and the gizzard, sometimes in a little paper bag. There may also be a neck in there, and if so, that goes into the freezer with the rest of pieces I'm collecting for stock. It's really a shame to toss the liver out, but if you're not going to save them until you have enough to make chopped liver or a chicken liver pate, toss it. You'll graduate to saving, and savoring, it at some point.

      1. I typically use necks, backs and wings. There's a lot of good stuff left after the butcher cuts off the chicken breasts (and you can poach the breasts and add them back to the finished soup).

        1. I second the backs. Thighs are always a good option too.

          And the livers look like the stuff on the left:

          1. "Do I not throw Uncle Louie's chicken leg after he finishes eating it"

            I suppose you can do it this way if you want to. Who am I to say no to that.

            "There's no way I would recognize a liver if I saw one."

            ....can't you look up wikipedia for liver? Here is a picture:


            In short, there are two main ways of making chicken stock. The most common method is to make stock from a deboned chicken. First, you debone/break down a chicken for the meat. After that, use whatever leftover (bones and few pieces of meat) to make stock. The less common method (still common method) is to make the stock from the entire chicken.