Home-made stocks have several benefits over store bought varieties: the flavor is better and fresher, you can control the amount of salt in your dish (in fact, each of these is made without salt), and in most cases, they will contain much more collagen – the protein that makes up gelatin – to give them body and texture. Collagen heavy stocks also make for much better sauces as they will help you incorporate fats and acids without the sauce seeming greasy. Finally, on a cold, rainy day, nothing smells better than a stock simmering away on the stove.
Because this site is focused on chicken thighs, these recipes also call for using thighs to make the required stocks. This is a little unusual, as stocks are often made from carcass, wings, and other parts of the chicken. Naturally, you may choose to substitute those pieces if you so desire.
This first recipe is for a light chicken stock, the most commonly used in recipes on this site. You can find recipes for Asian style stock, and a dark or roasted stock elsewhere on the site:
Light Chicken StockCourse: SoupsCuisine: American, French
4 qts cold water
4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 medium carrot
1 medium onion
1 rib of celery
1 bay leaf
1 small sprig of thyme
3 small sprigs of parsley
1 sachet unflavored gelatin (opt)
- Wash the carrots and celery, and trim the root end of the onion.
- Tie the parsley, thyme, and bay leaf together into a bouquet garni.
- Add all ingredients to 4 quarts of cold water, and bring to a very low simmer.
- If using, bloom the gelatine in ¼ cup of cold water for 10 minutes and add immediately after the water comes to a simmer.
- Simmer covered at a very low flame for 1-2 hours, skimming fat and foam if desired.
- When the stock is fully infused and the meat is falling from the bone, skim as much fat as possible and strain through many layers of cheesecloth, or through a flour sack / butter muslin towel. Straining while hot will result in a stock with better body.