The weather cooled off considerably so I can turn my attention to making chicken stock and heating up the kitchen with my Grandmother’s old, trusty, avocado green stove. So I will break out the necks, backs, and other miscellaneous chicken parts I have in the freezer and shortly my house will smell like delicious chicken soup.
My “recipe” for stock was adapted from this recipe below but I typically use what I have without getting uptight about the preciseness of measurements. I like to freeze it in 2 cup increments which make it easy to use in recipes later.
One note on food safety…..warm stock can be a breeding ground for bacteria so it is very important for the strained broth to be brought to room temperature quickly and then promptly put in the freezer or the refrigerator. I always make sure that I bring any reheated stock to a boil for a few minutes just to be on the safe side.
If you have any questions, just let me know!
(Adapted from Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread, A Country Inn Cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon copyright 1992)
4-5 pounds chicken, preferably from 1 stewing hen or the necks, wings, backs, and feet from young hens
2 medium onions, unpeeled and quartered
8 whole cloves
3 ribs celery with leaves, each broken in 2 or 3 big pieces
2 medium carrots, scrubbed and cut in large chunks
2 bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 ½ teaspoons salt
6-8 black peppercorns
Large pinch each of dried rosemary, thyme, basil, sage and savory
3-3 ½ quarts water
1-2 tablespoons white or cider vinegar
1. Rinse the hen or chicken parts leaving the skin on but removing any big lumps of fat. Place the chicken pieces in the pot.
2. Stud each onion quarter with a clove. Surround the chicken with the studded onions and add all the other vegetables and seasonings. Pour over all the cold water and vinegar.
3. Bring the liquids gradually to a boil over medium heat then immediately turn down the heat and let simmer, uncovered, skimming any surface foam, for 2 ½ to 3 hours. Stir occasionally. You may replenish the water as it cooks down; otherwise, you will get a lesser amount of stock.
4. Remove the stock from the heat and strain into a clean container. Discard the solids. Let cool, uncovered, 30 minutes. If the weather is warm, speed up the cooling processing by placing it in a sink of cold water. Refrigerate or freeze the cooled stock immediately. You may defat the broth easily after chilling as the fat will form a skim on the surface. Simply remove before using the stock.