One of the biggest and easiest improvements you can make to your home cooking is to use your own stocks. There’s absolutely no comparison to a good homemade stock. The grocery store versions are typically laden with unnecessary salt and lack flavor.
This is the way I make stock in any restaurant I have worked in and it has served me well over the years. Learning how to make chicken stock will improve your cooking knowledge as well as the dishes prepared with your new stock.
A guide to stock making:
- The higher the ratio of solids to water, the more flavorful the stock. Want more stock with lighter flavor? Add more water to the pot.
- Ingredients should be cut in size to correspond with cooking times. Larger cuts=longer cooking times, smaller cuts=shorter cooking times.
- Always start with cold water and slowly bring to a simmer. Never allow a stock to boil. Boiling creates a cloudy grey stock and poor flavor.
- Don’t add your aromatics until you have skimmed the surface and removed the impurities which have risen. It’s a lot easier to remove all the congealed fat and white foam when there aren’t vegetables getting in the way.
- Stop cooking the stock when there is no flavor left in the ingredients.
- After finished cooking, remove all the solids by scooping them out of the pot with a strainer. If you strain the stock with the bones and vegetables still in it will become cloudy.
-Adapted from Joy of cooking
Washing the bones in cold water before adding them to the pot will remove a lot of the impurities and save you time when skimming. After rinsing, add your bones to a stockpot and cover with water approximately 1 inch over the bones.
Start with cold water and bones and slowly bring to a gentle simmer. Congealed fat and impurities will rise to the surface as white foam which you can remove by using a ladle.
Once all the fat and impurities have been removed then add your aromatics. Continue to slowly simmer and remember to never boil your stock.
Remove all the vegetables and bones by ladling them out then strain the liquid through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer. Place in ball jars and freeze for up to 3 months.