A good chicken stock is the key to so many great dishes in the kitchen. It’s the base for your pan sauces, gravies, flavoring for rice, pasta, and potato dishes, and a fantastic steaming medium for fresh, seasonal veggies. It’s the Chef’s go to for thinning, and deglazing pans.
Growing up in my father’s restaurants, the first thing we did after turning on the lights and firing up the fans, was to start chopping veggies and roasting bones for a giant pot of stock, which would simmer all day on a back burner, getting ladled out for specific dishes all night long.
But…that’s a lot of work in a restaurant, and even more work at home. So, let’s take a shortcut that will give us a delicious stock (in smaller quantity) to use in your recipes, and keep us away from that nasty, salty, bullion water that comes in boxes and cans.
For this stock you’ll need just four ingredients…
(per quart of stock)
- 1 gallon distilled water
- 4 deli roasted (not fried) chicken thighs, bone in/skin on
- 4 stalks of fresh celery, diced*
- 2 shallots, chopped
(Other great ingredients you can add are sliced mushrooms, fresh peeled garlic, Italian parsley, carrots (for sweetness), fresh basil, etc.)
Be careful adding salt, or salty ingredients, as it will effect the seasonings in your final dishes.
*Volatile compounds in celery (3-n-butylphthalide, sedanenolide, and sedanolide), enhance the umami flavors in chicken and other poultry stocks. That’s one reason that celery is often a key ingredient in chicken-based soups and turkey stuffing.
Plus, you’ll be helping us teach nutrition, shopping, and hands-on cooking classes to at-risk kids, in our MY KITCHEN Outreach Program.
Add all ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, and cook until reduced by half (about 90 minutes), chopping up the chicken thighs as they get tender.
Strain your stock and dispose of solids. Return the liquid to the pot (after wiping the pot clean), and bring back to a simmer. Cook until reduced by half, again.
NOW, taste your stock and adjust salt and seasoning.
If you would like to reduce the amount of fat in your stock (I don’t, lol) refrigerate overnight, and then remove the solid fat that rises to the top.
You can throw this fat away, or (better) save to to fry with as you would butter. Jewish cooking calls this fat “schmaltz” and it makes the best scrambled eggs ever!
Stock will keep 2-3 days in the fridge, or several months in the freezer. I like to freeze it in ice-cube trays, so it’s ready in pre-portioned cubes when I need it.