So, how did Thanksgiving creep up on me? Somehow, in the midst of teaching and cooking and going slightly crazy, I missed the fact that the months slipped by and the time had grown near to give thanks with friends around a massive roasted turkey. Fortunately, since I’ve hosted Thanksgiving two years in a row, I’ve stowed away a few tricks to make the week-of much easier. My homemade chicken stock is one of those tricks. I use it in everything from mashed potatoes to stuffing and gravy. And when the leftovers need a little perk-up I’ll use the stock to make soup (click on the link for my turkey miso ramen). Chicken stock is one of those staple ingredients that can add so much to the simplest dish. And it doesn’t take much effort. Bonus!
I used to be one of those people who chuckled when someone said I should use homemade chicken stock. Well, chuckle all you want, but homemade is the only way to go. When we moved to Tokyo, all I could find was chicken bouillon…chalky cubes of dried something-related-to-chicken that were full of salt. I got so fed up with using those silly little things for two reasons: 1) they tasted terrible, and 2) they tasted terrible. Just look what that stuff did to Brad’s face! (Hee hee, just had to get him back for popping in during photo-time)
When I first tried making chicken stock, I was nervous and apprehensive. However, the results were wonderful. Each time I made chicken stock after that first experience, I tried adding various spices like cloves, allspice, star anise…anything that would give a little extra kick to the stock. The rich flavors in this chicken stock are perfect for holiday dishes. The spices add some extra depth and the long, slow simmering brings out all the flavor from the chicken.
The recipe I’m going to share with you now is the result of many a day spent simmering and inhaling the comforting and homey aromas of homemade chicken stock. Trust me when I say that you will never want to go back to store-bought chicken stock again. It’s that good.
Here’s how it works.
1 chicken carcass
1/2 large carrot
1 stalk celery
1/2 white onion or a couple of leeks
2 whole cloves
4 allspice cloves
8 black peppercorns
1) Put a chicken carcass (if I’ve roasted a chicken or purchased a rotisserie chicken I’ll throw the carcass in the freezer to have on-hand. Use a carcass from a cooked chicken as it will impart more flavor), carrot, celery, onion/leeks, cloves, all-spice, and black peppercorns in a large pot. Cover with about 3 1/2-4 quarts of water.
2) Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer. Simmer away for about 2-2 1/2 hours, skimming occasionally if necessary.
3) Pour the stock through a fine strainer into an airtight container or jar. Seal and allow to cool before placing in the fridge. Use as needed.
*The stock will keep for about 1 1/2-2 weeks in the fridge.
* You don’t need to add salt if you are using a carcass from a rotisserie chicken- and usually I don’t add salt at all so I can control the amount depending on the dish.