Chicken stock is a base for soups, stews, and sauces and adds richness and flavor to pasta and rice dishes.
I am often asked what is the difference between chicken broth and chicken stock. The short answer is broth is the liquid in which meat has been cooked and stock involves bones. When the bones are simmered for a long period of time, their gelatin and their flavor is extracted. This gives the stock body and a thicker texture. For an even richer stock, the bones can be roasted before simmering. Additionally, broth is usually flavored with salt and or spices while stock is typically unseasoned, giving the chef control over the amount of sodium.
Whenever we have bone in chicken, I freeze the bones for later use. That way when I’m ready to simmer up a pot of chicken stock I’m ready to go. Roast your bones in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
Add the bones and any other chicken parts you may have such as the back, neck, wings, or even a boneless skinless chicken breast to a large pot. Next add some roughly chopped celery, onion, and carrots. Go ahead and throw in the celery leaves and all. There is great flavor in those leaves. A larger chop is better because it makes it easier to remove the vegetables when the stock is done. Don’t get all hung up on measurements or amounts. It really doesn’t matter for this. If you have half of an onion left over, use that. Or, if you have a couple of stalks of celery and a carrot in the fridge, use those. Just whatever you have on hand is fine.
Cover with water and simmer for 2 hours. While the stock is simmering, use a large spoon or a ladle to remove the foam off the top as it rises. After 2 hours remove the chicken, chicken bones, and vegetables and discard them. Strain the stock through a fine sieve and let it cool. Refrigerate, and then you can easily skim off any remaining fat from the top.
You can store your stock in the refrigerator for about 3 days. If you’re not going to use it all right away, it can be frozen for several months. You could also freeze it in ice cube trays. Put the cubes into a freezer bag and use them when you need just a small amount to thin out a sauce or add a little flavor to a dish.
In a pinch, store bought broth works just fine, but with a little preparation you can have flavorful homemade chicken stock on hand all the time.