Chicken Stock

Yield: Makes about 2 quarts

At Campanile it seems there is always chicken stock on the stoves--giant pots of new stock being made and smaller pots simmering and ready for use. Page through this book and you will see that chicken stock is listed with almost the same frequency as kosher salt and cracked black pepper. As excessive as this may seem initially, once you learn to rely on full-bodied stock, it will become almost as necessary as basic seasoning, and you will want it on hand whenever you cook.

Good chicken stock will become gelatinous when refrigerated. It should not be cloudy, nor should it be absolutely clear, but rather a pale golden hue. To achieve this, the stock should be strained through a colander lined with a double layer of cheesecloth to remove any minute solid particles that may cause discoloration. Make this stock in large quantities so you will always have some on hand.

  • 6 to 8 pounds chicken bones, including necks, feet, backs, and wings
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, trimmed or root end, and cut into 1-inch pieces (3/4 up)
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered (1 cup)
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1 -inch pieces (1/2 cup)
  • 1 small leek, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces, and well washed (1 cup)
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

Put the chicken bones in a large stockpot and add cold water to cover by 2 inches (roughly 1 1/2 to 2 gallons). Over high heat, bring the water to a vigorous boil, and skim off any fat or foam that collects on the top.

Add the carrot, onions, celery, leek, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, and black pepper, reduce the heat, and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 4 hours, skimming the fat and foam off the top as it accumulates. The stock is ready to be strained, and the removed, when all the cartilage has dissolved from the bones. Chicken Stock has a delicate flavor that can be lost if it is reduced the way a stock made from veal or lamb would be.

Using a colander, strain the stock into a large, clean container. Press as much of the liquid out as possible, discard the vegetables and bones, and allow the stock to stand until the fat rises to the top, about 20 to 30 minutes. Skim off and discard any fat.

For beautifully clear stock, strain the stock through a colander lined with a double layer of cheesecloth before cooling. The stock can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days, or freeze the stock in small containers to use as needed.

Recipe from Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton's The Food of Campanile
© 1997 by Mark Peel & Nancy Silverton. All rights reserved