Now that the first week of fall is officially under our (cozy-sweater-and-boot-clad, pumpkin-spiced-everything) belts, I’m declaring it time for SOUP.
You know a good soup day when you see one — grey and a little blustery, maybe some damp chill settling in around midday (hey, Seattle, I see you). Or maybe it’s clear and crunchy, with a pushy sort of wind that makes its way into your ears and leaves your nose good and pink? SOUP DAY.
My brother-in-law doesn’t consider soup to be a real meal, which leads me to believe that either A: he is a real spoilsport, or B: he’s just never had a good bowl of soup. Or bisque or chowder or stew, for that matter. My brother-in-law is pretty fun, in general, so I’m going with B. Maybe he’s never made his own chicken stock. Have you?
Making your own chicken stock is the kind of thing that sounds like a big deal, but in reality is absolutely not. It’s actually on the simpler side of things, cooking-wise, and really takes your soup game to a new level. I’m certainly not against a store-bought box of the stuff, but when I have the time and wherewithal, I love to make my own.
I like to take my time and make a day of it — there’s lots of hands-off time in stock-making, so it doesn’t really take up the whole day. I buy a good chicken, raid the fridge for some veggie odds and ends, cover it all with water and then let the stove do the work. After a few (again, very hands-off) hours, I’ve got a nicely poached chicken (with meat that I use for salads, tacos, chili, etc. etc. etc.) and a beautiful, rich broth to store in the freezer for months of soup to come.
It’s a very autumnal thing to do, come to think of it. So what do you say? Shall we make some stock? Let soup season begin!
In partnership with Draper Valley Farms. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Dunk & Crumble!
Simple Homemade Chicken Stock
Start with a good chicken for stock — we’re going to poach it and pull off the meat, then continue cooking the bones to extract the richest stock flavor we can. Draper Valley Farms raise chickens in Washington and Oregon, and I love that their RANGER® free-range chickens are GMO- and antibiotic-free.
Veggie-wise, all you really need to round out your stock is an onion and maybe some garlic, but I like to add a carrot or two when I have them lying around. If you have any other veggie scraps (a stalk or two of celery, some parsley stems, a few mushrooms, even a wedge of cabbage) you need to use up, feel free to throw them in, as well.
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 onion, halved (leave skin on)
- 2 garlic cloves (leave skin on)
- 1 or 2 medium carrots
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Remove the little goody bag (of extra parts — liver, neckbone, etc) from inside the chicken cavity, and place the whole chicken in a large stockpot (I usually use an 8-quart pot). Add the neckbone too, if you like (but leave the liver out).
Toss the onion, garlic, carrots and salt in the pot, and then add water to cover by an inch or two.
Place the pot over high heat, and bring to a boil. Once you reach a boil, reduce the heat and gently simmer the stock, partially covered, for an hour and a half.
After 1.5 hours, reduce the heat even more, until the stock is just burbling. Carefully remove the chicken from the pot (I use two pairs of tongs to transfer the bird to a large bowl) and, when it’s cool enough, remove as much meat as you can from the carcass. Save the meat (and use any way you like – chicken salad! Tacos! Etc., etc., etc.), and place the bones and carcass (but not the skin) back into the pot, and continue gently simmering the stock, partially covered, for another 2-4 hours.
Ladle the stock through a fine mesh strainer into storage containers (I use plastic quart containers, and I try to wait until the stock has cooled a bit before I do this). Refrigerate the stock and use within a week, or store in the freezer, where it will last up to 6 months.
Makes about 4 or 5 quarts stock.