Once you learn how to make this homemade chicken stock, you’ll be hooked for life.
BTW, if you ask 10 different chefs what the difference between stock and broth is, you’ll probably get 10 different answers. The the purpose of this post, they are the same thing. You can make stock out of just about any animal bones by simmering them in a pot with water and aromatics, which are the veggies, herbs and spices that you might add to flavor your stock.
There’s a reason that chicken stock is used as the base of so many soups and sauces, it has a delicious flavor and is wonderfully nutritious.
The nutrition comes in part from the aromatics, but the biggest healing factor in stock is the minerals, collagen and gelatin that is leached from the bones. That’s right, the bones are the reason that mom’s homemade chicken soup really does help you get over a cold faster. Adding some vinegar and/or lemon (i.e. something acidic) to your stock recipe helps leach the good stuff out of the bones, and if you simmer it long enough you’re essentially making homemade bone broth.
Just like stock and broth, there isn’t a strict definition between regular broth and bone broth. The biggest difference is the vinegar and the amount of time that you let it simmer. You can make a wonderful stock in as little as 4-6 hours that is still quite good for you. To get the maximum benefit from the bones you’ll want to simmer it at least 12-24. If you’re not comfortable doing that on your stove, transfer it all to a slow cooker a few hours in and keep it at a simmer.
If you want to go the extra distance and make traditional bone broth, you’ll also want to add as many extra bones that you can use. Ask your butcher for any extra bones, even chicken feet, that they have behind the counter. Again, add a tablespoon of vinegar and simmer 12-24 hours. If you’re new to bone broth that might seem strange, but just remember, nutrition exists in nature and bone broth is incredibly good for you. It’s been used for thousands of years for it’s healing and anti-aging properties.
Back to traditional chicken stock. The chicken stock recipe below uses a whole chicken so you can use the meat in soup or another recipe, but you can also use this recipe with any bones that you have leftover, like from a roasted chicken or turkey. If you don’t have access to fresh herbs you can use a large pinch of dried instead. You can also get creative! Use whatever root veggies or herbs that you have on hand and like the flavor of. Parsnips and fresh dill are also great additions to your stock.
I’m giving you a long explanation below, just keep in mind that this is actually very simple and easy to do while you prepare other food or go on with your day.
Nourishing Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 5-6 hours (or more)
Yields about 4 quarts of stock
- 1 whole chicken (about 4 to 5 pounds), any paper inside removed
- 1 white or yellow onion, quartered
- 2 carrots, scrubbed or peeled and cut in half
- 2 celery stalks (with leaves if possible), cut in half
- 4-5 garlic cloves, smashed open or cut in half
- 1 large bay leaf
- 3-5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 5 stems fresh parsley (about 1 small handful)
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Optional, 2 slices of lemon
- enough purified water to fill the pot
Recipe: You’ll need a 6 to 8 quart pot with a tight fitting lid-I use a 6 quart pot for a 4 or 5 pound chicken. Be sure to check the inside of the chicken and remove the paper pouch that contains the organs. Discard the paper and add the organs to the pot. If you’re new to stock this might sound strange, but do it! There is a lot of good nutrition in there. You can also use this method with an already cooked chicken and just use the bones and whatever is left.
Add all ingredients to the pot and cover with purified water to about an inch below the top of the pot. Put a tight-fitting lid on the pot, then set it on the stove and bring to a boil (this takes about 10-20 minutes) then reduce to a simmer. Simmer at least 4 and up to 24 hours. If you use a whole chicken, be sure to remove the meat from the chicken about 2 hours in to prevent over cooking it then put the bones back in the pot.
To remove the meat, about 2 hours in carefully remove the whole chicken from the pot and set it on a large cutting board. It will be very hot, let it cool a bit so you can handle it. Use two forks or a knife to remove as much meat as possible. The meat will be nicely poached and you can shred it or just cut it up. Put the meat in an airtight glass container, then let it come to room temperature before you store it in the refrigerator, where you can store it for up to three days. Or, use it immediately. Discard the skin, then put all of the bones and the whole body back into the pot and let it simmer for at least another two hours.
The longer your stock simmers the more nutritious you stock will be. Keep the pot covered to prevent your stock from evaporating, if you notice the liquid reducing too much you can add a few cups more of water at any time during the process. After simmering at least 4 hours, strain your stock through a fine mesh colander or cheesecloth into a large bowl or pot. Discard everything that was in the pot except the liquid you just strained, its all served a very useful purpose and by now, the veggies have been boiled to the point that they will fall apart.
Use your stock right away to make Homemade Chicken Soup. To store, let it come to room temperature and store in quart containers in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or the freezer up to 6 months. If freezing, freeze in portions that will be useful to use in recipes, like 2 cup or 4 cup (quart) containers.
Recipe suggestion: My Homemade Chicken Quinoa Soup