Stocks (which are interchangeable with broths) are the base for many homemade soups and sauces. I used to always cook with store-bought chicken broth, but now there are several reasons why I prefer making it at home (using this recipe below that has been adapted from the Joy of Cooking). While it takes a little bit of time to cook, it is fairly easy to make, the end result has no sodium or preservatives, and it can be stored in the freezer. I usually divide up my finished stock into 1 or 2 cup sized Tupperware containers so I can easily pull out only what I need when it is time to use it.
Once you are done making this stock you also end up with a whole cooked chicken. Definitely don’t let that go to waste and plan something special like a chicken pasta dish, enchiladas, chicken fajitas, chicken salad, or even something like a chicken noodle soup recipe that utilizes both the stock and the chicken. The cooked chicken could also be frozen just like the stock.
Homemade Chicken Stock
- 1 whole chicken (4-5 pounds), or a whole chicken in parts
- 16 cups water or just enough to cover chicken in pot
- 1 onion coarsely chopped
- 1 carrot no need to peel, coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk celery coarsely chopped
- 1 leaves bouquet garni See note
Combine the chicken and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for about 30 minutes. While it is simmering, occasionally skim off the impurities (whitish bubbly stuff that rises to the top) with a slotted spoon.
Next add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and bouquet garni to the pot.
Simmer for 3 hours uncovered, adding water as needed to cover the chicken.
Strain stock through fine mesh or cheese cloth before storing in fridge or freezer.
When ready to use remove the white layer of fat off the top. Also when cooking with the stock don’t forget that this version has far less salt/sodium than the typical canned variety, so you may need to season to taste.
A bouquet garni is comprised of - a small bunch of parsley, 8 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, and 2 or 3 celery leaves. It's tied together with cheese cloth or cotton twine.
We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.