The Basics: Chicken Stock

When it comes to my cooking experience, I have an odd array of skills. There are recipes I’ve tried that are pretty complex and unusual for the home cook, and then, there are a slew of basic skills/recipes that I’ve never tried to make. For some reason, these basics often intimidate me. To get myself to conquer some of these irrational fears, I’ve decided to take on a cooking project each month that is something familiar or simple.

Last week, I participated in a cooking swap with some friends. Each of us made enough freezer friendly portions for 16 meals. Then, we gave 4 servings to each of the other three participants. It’s a pretty cool way to stock your freezer with some quick, homemade meals. For my dish, I decided to make a summer soup with beans, fresh produce and chicken (I’ll be sharing that recipe here later), and in turn, took on making chicken stock for the first time. Yes, I’ve never made stock.

Making chicken stock is one of those things that I was strangely intimidated by. Me, a woman who will spend an entire day cooking, thought it seemed complicated. Now, that I’ve made it I’m a little embarrassed that I ever thought it was so hard. I mean, it’s ridiculously simple, and it tastes a million times better than the boxed stuff. You basically throw a bunch of ingredients in a pot with water and let them work together for several hours. That’s it.

I used this recipe from Simply Recipes, and it turned out fantastic. It was really simple, though I do have a few notes of my own.

  • I used two carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks.
  • I used one medium onion and quartered it.
  • I roasted two, bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, stripped the meat for the soup and then used the bones for the stock.
  • I used two pieces of celery (tops and all) cut into chunks.
  • At the two-hour mark, I added more salt and wasn’t sure how it was going to work. Have faith. It needs a full four hours, but longer is better.
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