Chicken Stock

by Emily Kemme

Part of our Thanksgiving tradition is that after the turkey is carved, the carcass goes directly into my monster of a stock pot.  Weighing in at 16 qts, it’s not a cooking implement to take lightly.  However, there are years when we roast larger turkeys, two twenty-two pounders or so, and even the monster pot isn’t large enough to fit the bill.  That’s when I call in to service my gigantic sunflower yellow Le Creuset cast iron friend; although it only holds 13 qts, that shouldn’t give you the impression that this pot is a lightweight.  It’s amazingly heavy, but that’s why I’m in love with it.  It has no equal for creating soups and stews.

Last Thanksgiving, I made 22 cups of turkey broth which I divided into 8 cup Gladware containers and stuck into the freezer.  A record, although a friend informed me that he won the contest, coming in with 30 cups.  I’ll defer to him, this year.

Nevertheless, after our cache of stock had been slurped up (either as the base for other soups, or as turkey noodle soup, my personal favorite), we missed it.  There is nothing so satisfying as homemade turkey or chicken stock, because you can infuse whatever flavors you would like into it.  The salt content is at your control, and is generally less than store bought chicken broth.  Homemade stock just tastes silkier.

The solution, we decided, was either to roast turkeys more often, which takes a bit of time, or make stock from roast chickens.  I often roast a chicken for Sunday dinner.  Granted, you’ll end up with less stock from one chicken than you would get from a turkey, but you may end up making it more often.  Production time is much less, overall.

Chicken Stock

This is what you do:

1 roast chicken carcass, with whatever herbs, fruits or vegetables it was stuffed with remaining intact.  Note:  Reserve carcass in refrigerator until ready to use.  I generally put it directly into the stock pot, if there’s room.  If not, a ziplock baggie works well.  Make stock within 1-2 days after you’ve roasted the chicken.

2 celery stalks, chopped into 1″ pieces

2 carrots, cleaned and chopped into 1″ pieces

10 black peppercorns

water

salt to taste

Place chicken and next 3 ingredients in 8 qt stock pot.  Fill with water to about 3/4 to the top of the pot.  Cover.  Bring to boil and let simmer from 1-2 hours.  The longer simmering time, the greater the depth of flavor.  The stock should be a medium gold color.  Cool.  Remove all solids from pot.  Note:  at this point the stock may be refrigerated and the rest of the recipe can be finished the next day.  This is preferable as it allows the fat to rise to the top.  Skim off fat before continuing.

Using two large bowls and a large mesh sieve with handle, strain the stock from pot into bowl.  Repeat by straining into second bowl, at least four times.  Return stock to pot, bring to boil, then reduce heat and add salt to taste.  Cool.  Ladle stock into storage containers and freeze.

Makes approximately 8-10 cups.

 

 

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