Yesterdish’s Chicken Stock

It’s crazy that I’m the one writing about stock.

Not only is stock one of Adam’s favorite things in the world, but he’s the one that taught me to make it. When he makes stock, he uses different meats, obscure vegetables, he reads it poetry, and I’m pretty sure he’s named a batch or two.

I am less fancy and less skilled, but I can still make an amazing chicken stock. Now, I feel like I should start here by talking about how stock is different from broth. Yes, that would be helpful. One involves bones…? I feel like I’m just going to go ahead and wait for him to add a note here.

You can add noodles and chicken and have chicken soup, use it as a base for other soups, make sauces, risotto, or, if you’re especially awesome, make matzoh ball soup.

[Stock is made slowly from bones and broth is made somewhat less slowly from meat. There are different schools of thought, but in my view, a stock isn’t a stock unless there’s collagen dissolved in it. So vegetable stock is a damnable lie, but vegetable broth can be lovely indeed. — Adam]

The basic process is simple: Simmer bones and/or meat, simmer vegetables, strain. But I’ve learned 3 important tricks to making a great stock.

1. Don’t over-think the meat or the vegetables. It’s really fine to use what you have. Bones are great and important, but I like to use actual pieces of chicken. As the recipe says, make sure you pull out the chicken when it’s done, remove the meat, and put the bones back in (cooked chicken = lunch for days). [Conveniently enough, most chicken bones tend to find themselves shipped in pieces of chicken, so you can have both. — Adam]

If you are more into bones, but hate planning ahead, many grocery stores sell bags of bones for stock. Also, don’t feel limited to chicken. I know Adam is a big fan of using pork in stock. [Yup. I made stock this weekend and used pork and chicken. — Adam] I didn’t here because I made this for Passover and that just seemed wrong.

2. Salt. This is so important. Your stock isn’t going to taste like anything until you salt it. I don’t know why salt seems to add chicken flavor. Magic? At least three different people have told me that “it didn’t work” when they tried to make stock and this turned out to be the problem. I know, I know, salt is bad, but the amount of salt that you need to add is SO much less that what you’d be getting in a commercially prepared soup that you should stop whining and pick up the salt shaker.

Actually, don’t use a shaker. That is absurd. This is a big pot of stock. Get your salt container, pour some in your hand, throw it in the pot. Repeat until it tastes like soup.

3. Straining. This is just a little trick Adam taught me to get the clearest soup. It’s not essential, but it makes me feel like I know what I’m doing. It’s also helpful if you don’t have a sieve with a fine mesh. Are you ready for this magic? Line your sieve with a damp paper towel. I know, it’s pretty much rocket science.

So, stock. Not so bad, right?

You can add noodles and chicken and have chicken soup, use it as a base for other soups, make sauces, risotto, or, if you’re especially awesome, make matzoh ball soup.

Note: Growing up, my dad always had Ritz crackers and jam when we had soup. As a nod to him, I had matzoh and apple butter with my soup. Adam did not appreciate my genius. It’s possible he said something like, “how did you find the unsoupyist thing ever to serve with soup?!”

[Number of times in human history anyone has said, “we’re having soup, I’ll get the apple butter!”: exactly one. — Adam] Well he is soup-er wrong! It was delicious.

From Yesterdish’s recipe box.

Yesterdish’s Chicken Stock

Makes 2.5 quarts:

1 whole chicken, plus two leg/thigh quarters
2 carrots, cut lengthwise
2 celery ribs, plus leaves
1 large onion
2 bay leaves
a handful of parsley stems
4 garlic cloves
2 Roma tomatoes
1/2 tsp. peppercorns

Break chicken down into pieces. Put in a stock put and cover with enough water to keep chicken submerged, adding as necessary. Simmer over medium heat; remove chicken when cooked, pull off meat, and return bones to pot.

Cook for at least two hours, up to 12 hours.

Add everything else in the last 45 minutes of cooking. Add salt!

Strain through a sieve.

One Comment

  1. Soup looks amazing. Maybe some day you can vindicate me and do a post on light matzo balls that float instead of the sinkers uncle Mark was always looking for…

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