Chicken stock is a heavily concentrated reduction of bones and bony parts along with a lesser (if any) amount of breasts, thighs, and legs. Fresh vegetables and seasonings can be added for richer flavoring. After straining, stock will turn gelatinous when cooled (as opposed to broth, which remains in a mostly liquid state).
To create a true stock, the liquid and chicken carcass – plus added ingredients – must simmer for a minimum of six hours. This results in a darker concentrate that is then added to recipes. Many cooks refer to a stock as the “foundation of the kitchen,” which translates into the French “fond de cuisine.”
- Good quality chicken stock can be purchased at gourmet and health food stores as well as through on-line retailers. Always read the label if purchasing in a standard grocery; be sure that it is true stock and not broth.
- Some specialty markets will save chicken carcasses upon request.
- Bony wing tips, necks, and backbones are excellent for a thick stock. Any type of chicken will work (i.e., roasters, fryers, stewing hens).
- Refrigerate stock as soon as it cools. It should remain good for about three days. To “freshen,” re-simmer for about fifteen minutes, cool, and return to the fridge.
- Since stock is concentrated, it can be frozen in ice cube trays, then popped into freezer bags. Remove a cube or two as needed for soups and stews. It will be good for several months in the freezer.
- Remember: stock can be used to create a broth, but not the reverse.
- When boiling a chicken for salads or cooked dishes, remove the meat and return the bones to the liquid. Continue simmering for the perfect stock.
- The most common vegetables used to make stock are onions, celery, and carrots (mirepoix).
- Use stock for deglazing; broth will not work.
- Mixed with flour to create a veloute, one of the “mother sauces.”
- Chicken broth can be used in many recipes, but the flavor will not be as full.