Like many home cooks, I use the leftover chicken carcass to make stock. Every now and then, though, you need stock and have no leftover roast chicken. The secret to quick, flavorful stock was so easy, yet I needed Jenny Linford, author of From My Mother's Kitchen, to point it out: brown the chicken first to add a depth of flavor. I used her base technique with a few changes. The two major ones being I used chicken thighs instead of a whole chicken for more flavor and less money at the market, and went one step further and also sauteed the vegetables to coax more flavor than simply simmering them in water would. Linford used thyme in her stock, but I prefer the more traditional tastes of parsley and bay leaf, and while I love leeks, regular yellow onions are less expensive. Guess you can say this is a thrifty woman's version of her recipe, but you'd ever know from the rich flavor. —Jennifer Perillo
Test Kitchen Notes
This recipe was simple to make and I followed it to the letter, using organic vegetables, parsley from the garden and good quality chicken. It produced a rich stock with a minimum of time and effort. Although I skimmed the fat as directed, I would just store it in the fridge, scraping off the solidified fat later. I will make this again for my own use. Browning the meat seems key to the success of this recipe. I give it 4 "E"s -- easy, economical, excellent and definitely editor's choice. - Lizthechef —The Editors
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Season chicken with salt and pepper and brown in small batches, being careful not to overcrowd pan. Transfer browned chicken to a deep bowl or dish.
Add onion, carrots, celery, and garlic and saute over medium-high heat, until lightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken back to the pot, along with the parsley and bay leaf. Pour in 6 cups of cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for one hour.
Skim fat from surface of stock. Using tongs or a large slotted spoon, remove chicken from the pot and set aside. Pour stock through a fine strainer, and discard vegetables and herbs. Let chicken cool, then remove meat from bones to use for soup or chicken salad if using stock for a later use; store chicken in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Divide stock in to smaller containers and let cool completely before covering and storing in refrigerator or freezer.
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and FoodNetwork.com. She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).