Makes about 3 quarts

Notes: If you're using large chicken pieces or a whole chicken, chop into smaller pieces with a cleaver. For deeper color in the flavorful brown stock, leave the onion unpeeled.

How to Make It

Step 1

Place a single layer of the chicken pieces or scraps, meat side down, in a 6- to 8-quart pan over medium-high heat. Cook without disturbing until meat is well browned, 7 to 10 minutes (take care not to scorch). Using tongs or a long-handled fork (meat may stick; pry it up from pan bottom), turn pieces and cook until second side is browned, about 5 minutes longer. Reduce heat to medium.Pour 2 cups water into pan and stir, scraping pan bottom to loosen browned bits.

Step 2

Add remaining chicken, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, peppercorns (if using), bay leaf, and thyme. Add cold water just to cover. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to maintain simmer and cook, occasionally skimming and discarding foam from surface, until liquid is golden and has a deep chicken flavor, about 2 hours. Do not allow stock to boil; the surface should barely be disturbed by small bubbles.

Step 3

If a layer of fat forms on the surface, skim off and discard. If liquid drops below level of chicken and vegetables, add more cold water just to cover.

Step 4

Place a fine strainer over a large bowl nested in ice water in the sink. Ladle or carefully pour stock through strainer. Allow liquid to drip from solids, but do not press to extract more; discard solids. Stir stock occasionally until cool, 10 to 20 minutes; cover and chill until stock is cold and any fat on surface is firm, at least 6 hours, or up to 1 day.

Step 5

With a spoon, skim fat from surface of stock and discard. Cover stock and chill up to 4 days, or pour into jars or ice cube trays and freeze up to 3 months.

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