Here at Food52, we love recipes -- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.
I am generally not a do-it-yourself-or-die kind of girl. Pre-cut veggies? Knock yourself out. I do not make my own yogurt. Given my druthers, I will buy pancetta that someone else has chopped.
But when possible, I do believe you should use homemade stock, simply for the work-to-pleasure ratio. Homemade stock is easy, delicious, and flexible. By freezing it in one cup portions, you never have the waste issue with opening a box of stock.
My method differs from others in one key way: I put all the veggies save the onion in at the end instead of cooking them with the chicken for hours, so as to maintain that cluck cluck flavor.
How to Make Chicken Stock Without a Recipe
1. Brown chicken in oil -- chopped up ax murderer-style to get marrow. If you are using a turkey or chicken carcass, just dump it in here. The leftover herbs will be great.
2. Add quartered onion skin on, a splash of white wine if you're feeling fancy and a bay leaf. Cover with water -- just above the chicken no more.
3. Simmer for three or four hours, skim if you see foam; you want to reduce by at least a quarter, half is even better -- you can't really cook it too long.
4. Now add celery, carrots, and parsley and cook 5 minutes.
6. If possible, leave in the fridge overnight, skim the fat and freeze it for making matzoh balls. Store in 1/2, 1, and 2-cup portions in heavy freezer Ziplocks.
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Photos by James Ransom
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