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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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4 slices bacon, cut into lardons
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 3/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat
1 onion, medium dice
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz white wine (I used Pinot Grigio, from a box. Don’t judge)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 15-oz cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
15 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves

1. In a large pot, over medium heat, saute the bacon lardons until crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove from pot and drain on paper towels.
2. Combine flour with salt and pepper and dredge the chicken thighs in the flour mixture.
3. Working in batches, add chicken thighs to bacon fat and cook 2-3 minutes each side. Remove from pot and drain on paper towels.
4. Add onion and garlic to the remaining bacon fat and saute until soft and translucent, about 6-7 minutes.
5. Pour in white wine and reduce by 2/3.
6. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, beans, thyme sprigs, and bay leaves.
7. Bring to a boil, reduce to a low simmer and stir in the reserved bacon lardons.
8. Nestle the chicken thighs into the pot and cook for 45 minutes, or until cooked through and tender.
9. Serve alone or over brown rice.

Notes: flour became very very dark (just shy of burnt, really, but thankfully the end result did not taste carcinogenic!), next time omit the flour step and simply season the chicken and sear on both sides. Flour is nice for thickening, but I think, given the length of cooking time, the stew will still thicken nicely. Also, no flour will make this dish gluten-free.

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This is ridiculously easy, and can be altered in many ways. Don’t feel like making the broth? Use store-bought chicken or vegetable broth instead. Are you vegan? Omit the chicken altogether, or replace with tempeh or tofu, and omit the fish sauce. Feel free to substitute the shiitakes with any other mushroom, or the snow peas with snap peas. Don’t like miso? Well, that ingredient I suggest not to mess with; it adds a sweet-salty, mild “funk” that is hard to achieve with other products. If you follow a gluten-free diet, choose a miso paste made with soy beans and/or rice (not barley; they even make miso out of chickpeas!), and use Tamari soy sauce, which is made without wheat.

2 quarts Thai-inspired chicken broth
1/2 cup white miso
1 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 chicken breasts, shredded (reserved from the Thai-inspired chicken broth)
8 oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (tops only)
9 oz snow peas, thinly sliced
Sriracha, for garnish (optional, but recommended)

1. Bring Thai-inspired chicken broth to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium-low.
2. Stir in white miso, fish sauce, and soy sauce.
3. Add chicken, shiitake mushrooms and snow peas and cook for about 5 minutes, or until heated through.
4. Garnish with sriracha, if you feel so inclined (and you should).

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This is mostly a vegetable broth, since the chicken is cooked and then removed, to be used in the next recipe.

2 chicken breasts (with rib meat, skin-on, bone-in)
1 onion, halved, then each half cut into 3 wedges (root end intact)
2 carrots
4 stalks celery
3 large cloves garlic
1 3-inch knob ginger
1 small bunch fresh cilantro
Zest of 1 lime (large strips)
2 bay leaves
8 whole peppercorns

1. Combine all ingredients in a stock pot and cover with cold water.
2. Bring to just under a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the chicken breasts are cooked through.
3. Remove the chicken breasts and discard the skin. Remove the bones and add back to the pot.
4. Continue to cook for another 2 hours, skimming often.
5. Strain and refrigerate. Skim off any fat that coagulates on the surface before use.

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Notes: add lemongrass. More ginger, more garlic, maybe more cilantro, maybe more lime. MORE. Fairly mild but yummy flavor.