I thought I’d kick off this new chapter in the story of my blog with an easy recipe for chicken stock.  I will be making many, many soups this autumn and winter, and I absolutely prefer homemade stock to the store-bought kind.  Don’t be afraid – it’s easier than you think.

I’ve looked at so many stock recipes over the last few months, and I learned two things.  One, that there is no “one way” to make stock.  And two, that I needed to learn to adapt these recipes to my needs.  My favorite one is Ina Garten’s (surprise, surprise if you know me at all).  Her recipe, however, uses a HUGE stockpot in which she fits in three chickens (three!) in addition to a bunch of veggies.  I definitely do not have a stockpot that big, and I’m guessing most people probably don’t either.  So my recipe is for people with normal-sized pots!  You’re welcome.

Easy Chicken Stock (recipe adapted from Ina Garten)

Makes about 2 quarts of stock

  • One 3-5 pound roasting chicken or 5-8 chicken pieces (carcasses – sorry I know that’s kind of a gross word)
  • Large yellow onion, unpeeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots, unpeeled and halved
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
  • 1/4-1/2 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • 10 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 5-10 springs fresh thyme
  • 3/4 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns

Place the chicken, carrots, onions, celery, garlic, herbs, salt and peppercorns  in a large stockpot (I used an 4-quart pot).  Cover with water, leaving about an inch to the brim of the pot and bring to a boil.  Simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours.  Strain it all through a colander, discard the solids and put the liquid in plastic containers.  Chill the stock overnight.  Remove the surface fat the next day.  Use immediately or freeze for up to 3 months.

Stock is easily customizable.  Ina puts parsnips in hers, but since I never buy parsnips I left them out.  And I usually use thyme in my stock, but my thyme plant has recently been depleted so I threw in some chives I had this time instead.  No biggie.  She also puts dill in hers, which I haven’t used before but want to try one day when I have some around. To plan ahead for stock making, I freeze whatever is leftover from a whole chicken or individual pieces that have bones.  Then I have a little store in the freezer ready to go for when I want to make stock.

I’m thinking I might use our Thanksgiving turkey bones this year to make turkey stock!  I want to use fresh sage to add some holiday flavor.  Yum!

Those squash are so ready to be in a soup!