When I made my first chicken stock years ago, I was upset with myself I hadn’t done it sooner. The flavor? Wow! I’ve never again purchased any ‘store bought’ stock since. I have 1 ‘secret’ ingredient, if you will, that was passed down from my mother to enhance and sweeten the broth and that is parsnip. Parsnips are those white carrots that you see in the product sections but don’t know what they are. They add lovely sweetness and richness to the stock. Not all recipes I’ve seen call for parsnips and for me it is just as important as the celery and carrots.
Tip: If you don’t have a fat separating jug, run out and buy one immediately. You can buy it from my shop directly from Amazon here > Culinary Ginger shop (you will not pay more when using this link). You really can’t make good stock without it, because the fat from the chicken skin creates a layer of oil and no one wants to eat an oil slick. The separator forces the fat to rise to the top. The jug is spouted from the based so all the stock drains from the bottom first and you stop pouring just before you get to the fat. You can see how much fat is separated from the broth that is otherwise impossible to skim off.
Now, it does take a couple of hours to make this stock, but it is worth it. Trust me. I use chicken thighs and chicken legs, for 2 reasons. 1, they cost a lot less than chicken breasts and 2, there is much more flavor in the chicken thigh meat and this is going to be the meat for the soup.
I’m going to let you in on my 2 secret ingredients that gives the stock amazing flavor, parsnips and fresh dill. If you can’t find fresh, I’ve used dried dill and it works well. If you can’t find parsnips, I have substituted butternut squash and it also adds a lovely sweetness just like the parsnip. I cook the stock for 2 hours to get a good concentration of flavor. The chicken parts are then removed and put into a large bowl to cool so you can handle them. The vegetables are removed and discarded.
Pour the strained chicken stock into a storage containers. You can use right away or freeze. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick as much of the meat as you can and save it for chicken soup (recipe) salads or sandwiches. Here’s the finished soup below. Looks comforting, doesn’t it?
The base of any good soup, this chicken stock recipe is my go-to. I always have it in my freezer to add so so many recipes that is not just limited to soups. Add to stews, sauces or rice instead of using water.
- 1-6 pound whole chicken
- 1 head celery largely chopped
- 5 large carrots largely chopped
- 2 large parsnips largely chopped
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 large onion quartered
- 1 whole head of garlic cut in half
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf fresh or dried
- 15 cups water
- In an 8 quart stock pot put all the ingredients and fill with the water.
- Simmer for 2 hours uncovered, then strain through a sieve into fat separator.
- Pour into containers with lids. The stock will keep up to 1 week refrigerated or 3 months in the freezer