A flavorful stock made from browned and lightly seasoned chicken parts. Use this in any recipe that calls for lightly-salted chicken stock or broth.
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Makes 3 quarts.
1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 pounds chicken bones and parts (such as necks, backs and giblets), cut into pieces
2 medium yellow onions, cut into large chunks
2 fat carrots, cut into large chunks
1-2 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
2 bay leaves
Several sprigs of parsley
14 cups cold water
1. In a large, heavy stock pot, warm the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering but not smoking.
2. Sprinkle salt over the chicken bones and parts and brown them in batches in the hot oil. Keep the pan hot enough to brown the pieces all over, without allowing the bits on the bottom of the pan to burn. When finished, rest the chicken pieces on a plate or platter during the next step.
3. Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and saute briefly.
4. Add the chicken back to the pot, along with the accumulated juices. Add the bay leaves, parsley and water and turn the heat to high.
5. Cover with the lid askew and bring broth to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a bare simmer for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 or 6 hours, skimming any accumulated foam from the top as needed. The longer it simmers, the more flavorful the broth will be.
6. When finished, strain all the chicken pieces and other solids from the broth and cool, uncovered. When cool, skim the fat and store in a covered container in the refrigerator or freezer.
If possible, make a big batch of stock (you can double or triple the recipe if you have a big enough pot) and freeze it for future use.
If freezing, you'll want to freeze it in small portions to make it easier to use. A giant frozen container of stock will be a huge (literally) hassle to store and defrost. Some good strategies for freezing small portions:
- Freeze in 1-cup or 2-cup containers with tight fitting lids. To defrost, run hot water over the outside of the container until the frozen stock separates from the container, then drop the frozen hunk into a saucepan.
- Freeze in quart-sized freezer bags. (You can measure 1-2 cups of broth into each bag, then label the bag so you know how much is in it.) Be sure they're zipped tight, then lay them flat to freeze. You can stack these flat frozen bags for efficient storage. Defrost by running warm water over the bag for a few minutes.
- Freeze in ice cube trays, then put the frozen cubes together in large zip-top bags. You can drop a few cubes into whatever you're cooking.
If storing in the refrigerator, let it cool completely then store it in a covered container and use within 3 days. If you're up against the 3 days and haven't had a chance to use it yet, you can extend its life by bringing it to a boil. Then let it cool completely and stick it back in the fridge.