This stock takes time to prepare, but the effort is rewarded by a rich, flavorful stock that’s good enough to drink. Unless you are on a clear liquid diet, however, freeze the stock for soups. I learned this stock preparation from my Daddy.
Roasted chicken makes the best stock. If you don’t have access to already-cooked rotisserie chicken, then you’ll have to start by roasting one.
One whole chicken, cut into pieces (split breasts, thigh quarters, back and wings. Wash thoroughly, and include the giblets (neck, liver and gizzard) if you are starting from a whole bird.
Grease a 13″ x 9″ baking dish and lay the chicken inside, skin-side up. Sprinkle with your favorite seasoned salt. I prefer either Lowry’s seasoned salt, or Penzey’s 4/s (regular or smokey).
Bake at 350 deg for 45 minutes, until the meat pulls easily off the bones using a fork.
Skin the chicken pieces and remove the meat. Save the meat for chicken salad, casseroles or soups. It can be frozen in a ziploc at this point. If you don’t freeze the meat, refrigerate in an airtight container and use it within a week.
Place the skin, bones and pan juices into a large pot (at least 12 quarts). If you want even richer flavor, use a heavy knife or kitchen shears to split the leg and thigh bones to expose the marrow.
Cover the chicken with water, plus about 2-3 inches.
– The heart and leaves from one bunch of celery (save the outside stalks for munching). The leaves release the best flavor into the broth.
-2 whole, scrubbed carrots (no need to peel) or about a cup of baby carrots.
-1 large onion, cut into large chunks
– 1 Tbsp (tablespoon) of poultry seasoning mix. If you don’t have the mix, use 2 teaspoons (tsp) rubbed sage, 1/2 tsp ground thyme and 1/2 tsp ground marjaram. If you are substituting dried leaves, double the quantities. If you are using fresh herbs, triple it.
– 3 large bay leaves
– 2 TBSP worchestershire sauce
Now, this part is important.
Boil the everlovin shit out of your stock. Bring it to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to low (just enough to maintain a simmer), cover and simmer for at least 2 hours. Longer is better. Be sure to vent the lid (if your lid doesn’t have a vent hole, put a toothpick between the lid and the pot rim).
Keep an eye on the simmering stock and add boiling water if it gets lower than about an inch over the bones.
When you’ve boiled the stock until the bones are clean and starting to get soft, turn off the heat and let it cool, covered. This can take up to an hour, depending on whether you’re using cast iron or steel cookware.
At this point,
you can either go ahead and process the broth, or leave it on the stove with the lid on overnight.
Using a flat strainer or slotted spoon, remove as much of the bones and vegetables as you can. Then strain the broth through a sieve (mesh strainer) into a clean bowl, pot or pitcher. Wash your original cooking pot and set it aside. Throw away the solids.
If you can get cheesecloth, drape some over your (cleaned) strainer and re-strain the broth through the cheesecloth. You now have ready-to-use broth. If you cooked it over 2 hours, the broth will not be clear, but that’s okay. All that opaque quality is the yummy goodness extracted from the veggies and bones. You **CAN** drink this broth on a clear liquid diet.
. Pour the strained broth back into the washed pot and bring it to a hard, rolling boil. Turn off the heat and let it cool to about 140 degrees F (it should just feel hot to touch if you stick in your finger –if you don’t have a thermometer).
Pour the still-hot (but not too hot) broth into plastic containers with tight lids. (If it were too hot, the broth might melt the containers.) Lid the containers. Set out to cool until the sides feel like room temperature. Refrigerate and use within a week, or freeze immediately, being sure to set the containers upright.
When you want to use your broth, you can microwave in the container until thawed, or run warm water on the outside of the container to release the broth from the container. Put it into your soup pot frozen, and thaw on medium heat.
You’ll notice that the fat rose to the top and can be scraped or skimmed off before you use the broth, or you can use a gravy separator to skim the broth hot. There’s also a trick we learned from oil spill cleanup: use strips of paper towels to skim off the fat by laying them across the top of the broth (turn off the heat to avoid catching the paper on fire). Pull the strips off and repeat until you no longer see an oily slick on top of the broth. This works with all soups, stews, gumbo and chili.