After I started cooking whole chickens, I wondered whether there was something to do with all of the bones that were left behind. It turns out there is, and doing it will result in some very satisfying chicken soup! Whenever I cook a whole chicken, I save the carcass in the freezer to make stock (David is so happy it’s finally out of there). Just a few hours and extra ingredients later, I get to slurp down a very flavorful bowl of chickeny love.
To make chicken stock, put a chicken carcass in a large pot along with a halved or quartered onion, some halved carrots and celery stalks, a few cloves of smashed garlic, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, and dill. You can add any other vegetables of your choice, but I also added a parmesan cheese rind that I had in the fridge for some extra flavor. You don’t even have to worry about peeling any of the vegetables because everything will get strained out of the liquid later. Once all of your ingredients are in the pot, fill it up with water.
Then, cover the pot and turn the heat to high until your water boils.
When it boils, remove the lid from the pot and turn the heat down until the liquid simmers. Let it simmer for 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until your stock has the level of flavor you want.
After 3 1/2 hours, my stock had reduced a lot and became very flavorful.
Next, place a strainer over a larger bowl and carefully pour your pot of stock over it. You want to make sure all of the liquid gets into the lower bowl while the strainer catches all of the chicken, bones, and vegetables. Throw the contents of the strainer away.
Now you have chicken stock! The good thing about using an already cooked chicken carcass is that it doesn’t release much fat into the stock. If you used a raw chicken carcass, however, you might want to let your stock cool in the fridge so it’s easier to skim the fat off before you use it. You can use your chicken stock to make other things like risotto, and you can store it in the fridge or the freezer for a later use. But I didn’t want to wait for my chicken soup.
So I chopped up some carrots, onion, celery, and potatoes and put them in the stock to simmer for about 30 minutes. Once they were cooked, I shredded some previously cooked chicken (not from the very over-cooked carcass) and added it to the soup to warm through.
I seasoned my soup with salt, pepper, and more dill before serving. And then I gobbled it up. Making your own chicken stock is definitely a time consuming project, but most of the cooking takes place unattended. I don’t mind checking on the pot every now and then when I’m having a lazy, inside day. And getting to eat the most flavorful chicken soup you can make at home is the perfect reward. So cozy!
Ina Garten helped inspire and guide my chicken stock.