- Servings: Makes about 4 quarts.
You can make chicken stock using either a broiler chicken, the kind we buy to use for their meat, or else a hen, which is a type of chicken bred to produce eggs. When hens age past their egg-producing time, they are often butchered and used in soup.
Hens are not as fat or meaty as broiler chickens so they are not a good choice if you want to have chicken meat to add to a soup. But for a plain and versatile stock, hens can produce a rich and satisfying flavor.
- 1 3-pound chicken or hen
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 celery stalks, cleaned and trimmed of any leaves or dark spots, and cut into large chunks
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into quarters
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 6 black peppercorns
- Rinse the chicken well, both inside and out. Use the whole chicken, neck, feet (if they come with the chicken) but not the heart, gizzard or liver as these will cloud the stock.
- Choose a large stockpot or Dutch oven that can contain both the chicken and about 4 to 5 quarts of water. Place the chicken and all the other ingredients in the pot and cover with cold water, enough to cover the chicken (about 4 quarts).
- Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Skim off any foam that develops on the surface. Cook, with the pot partially covered, for a minimum of 4 hours up to 6 hours.
- Remove the carcass from the broth and strain the broth through a fine sieve into a large bowl or another large pot, pressing on the cooked vegetables to capture any remaining broth.
- Let cool completely and then refrigerate overnight. The next day you can remove and discard any fat that will have risen to the surface and solidified.