Making superior stock for your pantry

I’m sure most of you know how to make chicken stock, but I’m sharing this just in case. If you are still using boxed stock from the store (I still do now and then), this will change your life (slight exaggeration).

This is a method I use. It is easy to do. You can use an unsalted rotisserie chicken, as she suggests, or (as I have done) roast chicken parts in the oven before beginning; any parts with bones are great. Necks, wings, backs etc. Turkey parts are good too, as is the leftover carcass of a rotisserie chicken.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can do this the traditional way in a stock pot, then reduce the stock down on the stovetop. After reducing, freeze the stock into usable portions and store in a plastic bag or other container in your freezer. This is great for making gravy, pan sauces, soups and stews. It lasts a long time, and is easier to store than large containers of stock in your frig or freezer.


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3 Responses to Making superior stock for your pantry

  1. stella says:

    Helen’s recipe:

    This is the most versatile stock that can be used for any soups, sauces, and braises whether they are made from chicken, beef, pork, veal, duck, or other birds or mammals. “Brown” means that the chicken was roasted before making the stock.

    This recipe can be scaled to fit the size of the pot that you have. Each chicken will need 4 quarts of room in the pot.

    The fastest, but not the cheapest, way to make stock is to use store bought rotisserie chickens. You need every part of it — the meat, skin, and bones. The only part you are welcome to leave out is the breast meat, but since it’s so dry, I throw it in as well. If you make a lot of roasted chickens at home, you can replace one store bought rotisserie chicken with the carcasses and all the bones from 2 home roasted chickens. This way you’ll get to eat the meat.

    If you are planning to use the stock for soups, the chickens can be either salted or not. If you are planning to use the stock for sauces, it’s very important that the chickens you buy are salt-free (available at Whole Foods) because the stock would be reduced as much as 8 times to turn it into a sauce, making it way too salty. If you are only using the carcasses and not the whole chicken, I find that it’s ok if the chicken was salted (even if you’ll be using the stock for sauce) because almost all of its meat has been removed.

    For 8 cups of stock

    1 salt-free store bought rotisserie chickens with meat and skin (see the note above)
    1 small carrot, coarsely chopped
    1/2 celery rib, coarsely chopped
    1 small yellow onion, quartered
    1 bay leaf
    a few thyme sprigs (optional)
    a few parsley stems (optional)

    Break up the chicken or carcasses into small parts. Put everything in the pot and cover with water by 1 inch.

    Stove top method: Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, simmer very gently uncovered for 3-5 hours. No need to skim.

    Instant pot method: High pressure for 2 hours with natural release. Can be started before you go to bed and will be ready to strain in the morning.

    Cool to warm. Strain through a large hole, then a small hole strainers. Cool to room temp. Refrigerate 24 hours. Skim the grease off the top. Can be used as is or reduced. To reduce, boil it down until it’s reduced to your liking. High heat is fine since all the solids are gone. I usually reduce roughly by 4 (4 cups turn into 1 cup). Reducing has the following benefits: the stock takes less room in the freezer, it’s faster to defrost, pan sauces made with reduced stock take less time.

    Reduced stock can be reconstituted with water to make soups. Stock keeps 1 week in the fridge or indefinitely in the freezer, though it’s best to use within a few months.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pa Hermit says:

    Thanks Stella, but for one person, that’s a lot of work. Plus I use only a little bit of stock. So store bought for me. If I were a heavier user, then that would be a different story. At least I have an idea of that process if need be.


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