This post is dedicated to my best, no… my bestest friend who had asked me to post some recipes of soups with “no funny ingredients and photos for special people”. Before I move on to the recipe, I just wanna say that I’m very proud of my bestest friend for coming such a long way in the kitchen, building her cooking skills from ground zero, and actually being able to achieve her own, unique style in cooking. She still calls herself “soup incapable” and claims that her soups are missing a “kick”, but I’m pretty sure that once she figures out how to make her own stock that suits her taste, she’ll be golden with any soup recipe.
Here what is needed to make basic chicken stock. You can add spices, herbs and veggies to taste.
- 1 whole chicken (preferably organic, it makes a world of difference!)
- 2-3 medium onions, cut in half
- 3-4 carrots, cut up in 1″ pieces
- 4-5 stalks celery, cut in half
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 8-10 peppercorns
- Salt, to taste (I make mine barely salted. I’d rather adjust salt in my soup, down the line)
1 leek, white part only, cut in half lengthwise (I used it in this recipe)
Green part of leek can also be used. Just throw in 3-4 pieces in your pot.
1-2 cloves garlic – a lot of people like to use it in their “basic stock” recipe. I prefer to add it later in my soups, if needed
You can add any fresh herbs like dill, parsley, cilantro.
And you can use any dry herbs like thyme, rosemary, tarragon.
You would need your largest stock pot for this. I have this 8 qt one from IKEA, which is simply perfect for this purpose.
Cut up your veggies. Rinse your chicken well and place it in your pot. Throw in all the veggies, herbs and spices that you are using, cover everything with cold water and add some salt. Bring to boil on high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover with lid and simmer for a few hours.
Remember how I told you that the preparation time depends on the chicken you are using? It really does. Organic, free-range chicken takes longer to cook. And it also depends on the size of the bird. You can pretty much forget about your simmering stock for about two hours, but then you would need to check your chicken for doneness. The chicken should be spreading apart and be very loose at joints.
Take the chicken out of the pot, place it on the large plate and let it cool for a bit. You want it to be cool enough to handle, but not completely cold, as it will be more difficult to separate meat from the bones.
At this point, there are two “roads” you can take. You can debone your chicken, strain your stock and use it as you please. Or, you can take an extra step and make your stock into something absolutely-off-the-hook-amazing. If you decide to go “all-in”, debone your cooked chicken, put the meat aside, and put all the bones back to your pot of stock, add couple of cup of water and let simmer for another 2-3 hours.
Before straining your stock, “fish out” all the veggies with a slotted spoon and pour your stock thru a fine meshed strainer into a large bowl. Yesterday, when I prepared made my stock, I reserved about a quart of stock for a another time and used the rest (roughly 7 cups) for my Kale Ginger Chicken Soup.
Pour the reserved stock into a glass jar or tall plastic container. Just remember not to fill your jar or container to the top, otherwise you’re in trouble! The liquid expands when it freezes and it will break your jar or force off the lid, if it’s a plastic container. Let it cool on the counter first. Then cool it in the refrigerator. Once completely cold, transfer to the freezer.
See, it’s not difficult at all!