homemade chicken stock

After making a perfect roasted chicken, your job is not yet finished! Take advantage of whole-bird cooking by using the leftover bits and pieces to make homemade stock. The carcass can be frozen, along with the neck bone, gizzards, and heart (omit the chicken liver–it’s flavor will overpower the stock), so you don’t have to commit to making it right away. You should, however, do this one step once your chicken has finished roasting:

Place the roasting pan over 2 burners on medium high heat. Deglaze with about 1 quart water, scraping up the bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Reduce just slightly by 1/4 (about 3 cups will remain), and then cool, transfer to a container, and refrigerate or freeze. Skim off the solidified fat from the top before use.

1 chicken carcass (from a 4 1/2-5-pound bird) – this one had been roasted with a big handful of thyme stuffed inside of it, so feel free to include such leftover herbs
3 cups chicken “gravy” (method above), thawed if it has been frozen
3 carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, large dice (feel free to include the skin)
3 cloves garlic, smashed (again, skin is fine)
10 peppercorns
1 bay leaf

1. Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot and cover with cold water by 3 inches.
2. Bring to just under a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 2 hours.
3. Strain, cool, and refrigerate or freeze.

Yield: about 5 quarts

What really makes this stock shine is the addition of the chicken “gravy”. It immediately flavors the stock with a richness that captures the character of the chicken. For real! Don’t get me wrong–I always have some sort of store-bought broth in my pantry to lend flavor to simple dishes. But whenever I have the opportunity to make homemade stock, I am never
disappointed. The flavor is deep and layered and beats the store-bought kind any day.

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