Makes about 8 cups
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total preparation time: 3 1/2 hours
I understand that most people are going to reach for a can of chicken stock on a weeknight (and yes, let’s be honest, even on a weekend) but I am hoping that one weekend, when you have a little time on your hands and you plan ahead at the supermarket and pick up some chicken wings and the appropriate vegetables, you will decide to make a batch of the homemade stuff. The flavor is superior, and because it is made with chicken and bones, it contains gelatin, which contributes body to any recipe you put it in. I have tried boiling down several brands of canned stock to see what happens. If they had actually been made from bones, the liquid would become very viscous after awhile. Instead, I can boil the mixture down until it disappears and pouf, there is nothing left in the pan. My theory is that they simmered water and chicken fat to come up with the flavor in canned stock and then removed the fat. I don’t know how else they got chicken flavor in there. I like to use chicken wings, because they have equal parts of chicken (flavor), bones (gelatin), and fat in the form of skin (more flavor), more of all three put together than any other part of the chicken.
After you make your stock, remove the fat and boil it down by at least one third to concentrate it. Divide the stock up among several resealable plastic bags and freeze it. You will be so happy to have it on hand. We refer to it as liquid gold. This stock will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator or a few months in the freezer.
5 pounds chicken wings
2 medium onions, quartered
2 small carrots, halved
2 celery stalks, halved
4 rinsed and dried fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2 rinsed and dried fresh thyme sprigs
1 Turkish bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Rinse the chicken wings. Put them in a stockpot and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring the mixture just to a boil over high heat, skimming and discarding the surface skim with a slotted spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, skimming frequently, for 20 minutes.
Add the onions, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns; simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Strain the stock and skim off all the fat that rises to the surface. (Alternately, cool the stock and refrigerate it overnight. The fat will harden on top of the stock and is much easier to remove.)
Return the stock to the pot and simmer until reduced by one third, about 30 minutes. Divide the stock among several resealable plastic bags and freeze it.