Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Homemade Chicken Stock – Buy Low, Sell High

With over 400 video recipes produced thus far, it probably seems odd that I'd never done a proper chicken stock recipe. In the early days of the blog, I decided that I wouldn’t do video recipes that would eventually appear in the online culinary academy curriculum.

I had planned on having a selection of videos featuring key techniques that people would pay to watch, but with all the various projects going on, I've never quite been able to get that together. Anyway, this chicken stock video recipe would have been included in that collection.

While I can often be seen using my carton of all-natural chicken broth, there's nothing like homemade. It does take a long time to simmer, but the actual work is minimal, and the procedure quite simple. It's also a very frugal undertaking, with the bones I used costing 80-cents a pound. That's three quarts of chicken stock for about $3 in costs!

Please note that you can use this exact same recipe/procedure with roasted chicken bones. In fact, most of the homemade chicken stocks I make are the result of a roast chicken dinner, but for this video I decided to go classical. Unlike beef and veal, chicken stock is not traditionally made from roasted bones.

You should try both ways, and see which you like, and for what dishes. By the way, even though I didn't roast the chicken bones, I still got quite a nice, richly colored stock, which comes in large part to leaving the skins on the onions. I don't remember exactly why that is, which is fine since I really I don't care that much. Enjoy!




Ingredients:
3 pounds chicken bones, backs and necks
1 large onion, skin on
2 carrots, peeled, cut in large chunks
1 large or 2 small ribs celery cut in large chunks
1 bay leaf
9 black peppercorns
4 springs thyme
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3 quarts cold water

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you. Always wondered how to make chicken stock that has that beautiful rich color. Slow, long and easy cooking is the secret. How hard can that be once you get everything in the pot.

Anonymous said...

Nice to learn this. so how come boxed/canned broth is so pale? Is it because of less cooking and ingredients and more salt/chiken-like flavorings?

If FN doesn't work out don't discount the online culinary school--I'd pay to learn from you.

irksome1 said...

I always wondered about roasting the bones for a stock. I mean, the reason that you're supposed to bring the stock up slowly to a simmer is to encourage all the gelatin to leech out of the bones before the heat sets it and traps it in the bones. Wouldn't the heat of roasting do the same thing?

milkshake said...

there is some natural color present in onion skins - when I was a kid in Eastern Europe we brewed onion skins and used the "onion tea" for coloring Easter eggs (they turn out reddish-brown, just like brown eggs). Don't ask why.

Anonymous said...

Any thoughts about how long stock lasts in the freezer?

Chef John said...

it lasts a long time as long there is no big air pockets, BUT i would hope you would use within 3 months.

Tkriger said...

Was that 2 jabs at Alton Brown in the last 2 videos? =p Whats wrong with AB? I'd say Good Eats is the main reason I try most new recipes...

I did try making broth once - it turned into jelly once it was in the fridge - I guess I over reduced it?

mozo_jojo said...

the foam is actually blood, the meat shrinks, so the blood comes out and that is what that foam is, mostly. I do that at home also. I also do beef and fish the same way.

PS love the blog, just found it.

Chef John said...

No, I love Alton, there was no dig! I was saying I didn't know why salt would mess it up, but if you were wondering ask Alton. It was actually a compliment to his knowledge.

Anonymous said...

it`s no blood. it`s egwite from the meat en bone. if it was blood the chicken looks blue.

Anonymous said...

I thought when the stock jells in the fridge that means you did a good job in cooking it long enough. Can stock be overcooked?

Anonymous said...

I've been making chicken stock for years but I did not know that I should simmer it for 12 hours. I have always stopped at about 3 or 4 hours. I don't even know why. I am so excited to make 12 hour stock! Is it important to leave the lid off the pot?

Chef John said...

yes, if you reduced this down to 2 quarts it would be very gelatinous. Not sure about overcooking...never went longer than 12 hours.

I make with lid off so I can control the simmering perfectly. Things boil more rapidly when covered, so too hard to adjust.

FlavourJourney said...

In one of my Hordon Ramsay books, he explains that stocks aren't salted because they are often used in sauces which are most likely going to be reduced. As it is reducing the water of course vapors away but most of the salt remains in your sauce which might result in too salty sauces.

I was wondering, since it takes so long to make, would it be possible to heat it op on a stove and then transfer it to baking tray and into an oven, letting it sit there on a lower temperature (like 140°F) for 12 hours (perhaps even covering it with some tin foil so the water doesn't evaporate that fast).

Anonymous said...

How about making the stock in a slow cooker. Would that work?

Rodge said...

I prefer to wait until the scum is removed before adding the aromatics so they don't stand in my way when I scum. I never simmered it fo 12 hours. I will definitely do it. Learned something about onion skins. Thanks.

blogagog said...

What is your opinion on throwing the garbage part of vegetables into the mix, such as the ends of asparagus, the woody part of broccoli, the part of the pepper that you don't use, etc. ? Good idea or bad?

Mysticl said...

I am so going to try this. I was wondering where on earth I was going to find chicken backs and necks when low and behold in the frozen Section at my local supermarket I suddenly spied something that looked suspicious and low and behold there they were. I must have walked by them a thousand times before and never saw them ... Super cheap as well.

Asian Malaysian said...

Anon, I think I'll soon have to find out with that slow cooker. I was hoping that Chef John would come out with some revolutionary super efficient tecnique to make stock like he did with that chicken wing eating technique but this seems to take as mind numbingly long as it ever did.

Jack Parker said...

It's about flippin' time! I know how to make chicken stock but I've been enjoying your take on recipes so much that I've been eager to try your chicken stock recipe!

Just one question: Does it matter if you simmer it covered or uncovered? I've always simmered with a cover under the notion it would reduce less. Then you wouldn't have to keep adding splashes of water and diluting your broth. If that's a myth, please set the record straight!

Chef John said...

Jack, see above re: lid

bloga, no to scraps! Keep it pure.

And the rest of you people wishing for some secret non pot method...sorry. Btw, how is a slow cooker easier. Same thing right?

Also, it's tedious if you stand there and watch it for 12 hours, but why would you do that? Put it on and forget about it. Or put it on late night and check in the AM

Asian Malaysian said...

Chef John, the slow cooker point is more of a psychological one. For a lot of folks, it just feels a lot safer to leave a slow cooker on and forget about it than a pot on a lit stove. Youd be surprised how many people have actually managed to burn their pots at some point in time.

Pyrofish said...

Very nice. I keep putting off making stock because of lack of freezer space. So now I'm putting it off until I pull the trigger on a 15.5qt pressure canner. As soon as I get one of those bad boys, I'll be a stock canning fool. The nice thing about that All American pit, it cans, but that heavy mutha can make a bunch of gumbo and chili too. As soon as I have a spare $170 to throw at more kitchen stuff...

Anonymous said...

Chef John- have you any experience making stock in a pressure cooker? i heard it does the same thing (deep flavored stock) in about an hour.

Mysticl said...

This is probably over kill but I found when I was skimming off the scum I didn't think I was doing a very good job as I felt I was losing too much of the good stuff and leaving behind too much scum. So I decided to try and salvage it.

I got a strainer and lined it with a couple layers of cheesecloth. I just put the sieve over a pot, held it in my left hand and spooned/skimmed the scum in. I stopped worrying about taking too much broth and simply poured the clarified broth back into the pot occasionally then continued until all the scum was gone. The result was a wonderfully clear broth, no waste and a cheesecloth loaded with scum which I then discarded :)

Rita said...

thank you. finally! i've always wanted to make chicken stock, but not sure how long it will last. now, i know. i will, definitely, follow your method.

by the way, thanks for the search bar. it sure makes searching for recipes a lot quicker. i love it! you just don't know how many meals you've served in this household ;) i sure learned a lot of cooking techniques from you. kudos!

Thierry et M.J. said...

hello !
i'm from France, i have family in USA (CO) and like to go there often (but alas they don't cook much)

don't you have/use an "├ęcumoire" (french word, i can't found it in english) to clear your chiken stock ?
if you see what i mean :
http://www.coupdepouce.com/img/photos/biz/CoupDePouce/cuisine/bouillon2.jpg

i remember my grandma using it for jam for exemple

Thierry (FR-Strasbourg)

Anonymous said...

I have made many stocks over the years with a few different methods, if I froze it, it would be like two pounds in a plastic bag and I would hack off what I needed, freeze it in not used Ice trays, simple, brilliant, thanks chef

tammy said...

this is my 1st visit to your blog. i stumbled onto your foodwishes.com site yesterday and have thoroughly enjoyed the recipes, videos (love visuals, easier to follow) and the jocularity... or truthful-sarcasm... or whatever you want to label it... anywho, it's entertaining! hey and love the recipes too:). regarding making stock...are the veggies too far gone after 12 hrs. to use in another dish... hate to waste food. any ideas for their use? many thanks... enjoy your PNW trip. i live in NoCal (Sac. foothills) but am doing a road trip w/hubby & doggie in OR and currently wireless @ family in sunriver, OR. we’re here hunting elk & deer... any good recipes?? beautiful & 80's here!!

Chef John said...

except for compost the veggies are useless. thanks!!

Artsygal said...

Another great video! I've been making stock for a few years now thanks to an exhaustive tutorial I found on the Egullet website. One thing I learned there that is especially applicable for people who are concerned about storage space - after straining and letting it cool down so the fat rises to the top and solidifies, I remove that, and return the stock to the pot and simmer it down to a thick syrupy consistency. My 18 quart stockpot worth of stock is reduced down to just a few cups this way. I freeze most of it in 1/2 - 1 cup measures and reconstitute as needed. The plus side is that I can add just half a teaspoon of this to a recipe and get that amazing hit of flavor without watering my dish down. I don't cook spinach any other way now!

philogaia said...

Thanks, Chef John. I actually didn't watch this video for awhile because I thought my stock technique was pitch perfect. I make great, gelatinous stock. When I learned the secret of clear stock as gentle simmering years ago I was convinced my life was complete. But I see a couple of things I want to try. You chop your veges much larger than I do and then simmer the stock twice as long. Hmmm. I'm going to see if that makes a difference over my five hours and 1/2 inch dice that I use.

philogaia said...

Thanks, Chef John. I actually didn't watch this video for awhile because I thought my stock technique was pitch perfect. I make great, gelatinous stock. When I learned the secret of clear stock as gentle simmering years ago I was convinced my life was complete. But I see a couple of things I want to try. You chop your veges much larger than I do and then simmer the stock twice as long. Hmmm. I'm going to see if that makes a difference over my five hours and 1/2 inch dice that I use.

Chris Prior said...

One thing that I always do when making Chicken stock is to add a pork leg bone into the recipe because it has lots of gelatine in them and gives it great body. Also I always put the bones on there own into cold water bring them to the boil then drain of all the water, I find that it helps to get rid of the impurities in the bones. Then when I have finished the stock and strained it I reduce until its really thick it will turn into a jelly, that way it will keep for longer.

Anonymous said...

Can I ask what word you are using for the veggies- "mirpla"? Thanks!

Chef John said...

It's mirepoix. :-)

Henry said...

lol i must realllllllly suck at cooking or smth.. i left this to barely simmering (no bubbles even) and before it hit the 10 hr mark everything evaporated!!!
note: i added splashes of water at around hour intervals.. decided not to add more water at the 8.5 hour cause there wasnt much taste.. came back almost at the 10th hour and everythign was gone..

haha just wanted to share a funny story of my fail @_@... but at the same time pretty sad i didnt get my chicken stock :(

Nathan said...

Hi Chef John! At the end of the video you say you like to store the stock by putting a little bit of chicken fat on top. You didn't say where the fat came from. Did you skim it off at some point?

Lori said...

I appreciate the video, thanks.
Can I freeze the stock in the glass canning jars? Or would they break?
Love your blog and read it faithfully:)

Chef John said...

You can if not filled all the way. I prefer plastic freezer bags.

cdcphoenix said...

Had to compare notes with you on stock making.
I do use a crock pot, as I have cats and don't trust them home alone if the stove's on. When set it to low, and checked on occasionally, it works perfectly.
I think I read that one of the posts said they add the thyme and bay after skimming. I figured that out just a couple of months ago, and it does make skimming easier.
At some point I heard that the stock needs to cool uncovered, or it might become cloudy. I've always put it into the fridge and removed the fat that solidifies, and then put it into jars. I like your idea of cooling it, and letting the fat help to seal air out.
You are the best Chef John.
Thanks for the post.

Scott R said...

I accidentally stumbled across one of your cooking videos and then tried to find more because I thought;"WOW, This guy is good!" And now I've found your blog. Great presentations. Excellent teacher. I could listen to you all day long.

Anonymous said...

i truly enjoy that little jingle before every video :)

Heather said...

This should totally come with a warning that you need 12 hours plus. I got half way through the video, went and started my stock and then realized I'm going to be up really late. OR I need to watch videos all the way through before I go start. *blush* I got excited.

Anonymous said...

Hey chef john, i really love your website and i've adapted alot of the techniques you use for my own purposes.

Got a question, if you roast a whole turkey or chicken can you roast the bones a second time and then make stock? I usually make stock with the once roasted carcasses of birds i have eaten :) But i've never tried roasting them. And i was surprised to see your beef and chicken stock recipes use new bones.....

Chef John said...

yes, you can, but not a big diff in flavor.

Claude said...

Would you had some ketchup to the recipe ?

Magdalena Predki said...

the scup on top of the broth is just protein. that's what happens when its heated up. kind of like egg whites.

Magdalena Predki said...

I cant believe someone just asked if you can add ketchup to this. really? wow!

Nick Constantine said...

My mom bought me an 8 qt stockpot for Christmas because I've been cooking for years and have always wanted to try soups. Do you think the 8 quart pot is large enough for this recipe and your soup recipes?

Chef John said...

Yes! Enjoy!

Unknown said...

I just made this again yesterday to help me recover from a cold. This recipe is tried and true - it makes authentic chicken stock, just like my Jewish grandma used to make...well, if I had a grandma who used to make stock, and if she was Jewish....

The flexibility of adding salt later is perfect so I can balance the flavors of what I'm cooking.

Thank you Chef John for continually teaching techniques in your videos, and not just recipes. Although I've been cooking at home for over 30 years, I've become a much more capable cook from watching your videos for the past 4 years. Thank you for your great work! This is still the best food blog on the internet!

McShine said...

Nice tutorial as usual, chef :)
One question though: You used bones that still had a lot of fresh meat on them. Is that necessary or can I just use the leftover bones from, let's say, my superbowl wings or a rotissery chicken? Does the meat add a lot of flavor?
Thanks :)