Lazy Sunday Afternoon? Start this Versatile Chicken Stock

A well made stock is the magical ingredient that makes good dish a great dish. It adds a level of flavor and richness that can’t be replicated. At Cleonice we always had a chicken and a vegetable stock on hand and made fish and beef stocks for specific dishes when needed. At home, chicken stock is our go-to stock. Here’s a good Sunday afternoon ritual that will give you a couple of meals and a great chicken stock for your cooking throughout the week.

We started with a whole but broken down chicken.

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We’re planning on making Chicken Arthur Avenue with the breasts, an Asian inspired stir-fry with the thighs, and a chicken soup later this week. So we’ll start by boning the breasts and thighs.

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Start at the breast bone and cut down alongside the cartilage.

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Continue to cut the meat from the bone as you get to the rib cage, using the point of your knife.

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Continue until the full breast is removed from the bones.

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Remove the tender from the breast. The chicken tender is on the underside or the bone side of the chicken breast and has a white tendon that runs through it.tender2

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Hold onto the tendon and scrape with your knife to remove it from the tender.

We might add it to our stir-fry. You can also save them up in the freezer, bread them and make homemade chicken tenders.

Next we’ll bone the thighs

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Starting on the underside of the thigh, slice alongside the bone.thigh2

Then start working on the other side of the bone.

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Lift up the bone as you cut through and scrape the meat down off the bone.

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And finally cut the thigh away from the bone.

Freeze the chicken that you are not going to use in the next day or two, make sure to label and date them so you know what you have. Now (finally) on to the stock.

Our stock starts with the breast frame, the thigh bones, chicken drumsticks, and chicken wings. You could also start your stock here with a whole bird or parts that you had saved up from other projects (maybe your wingtips from pollo pil pil).

Place your meat and bones into a large stock pot and cover with several inches of water. In our 12 quart pot we added two gallons of cold water to the bones.

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Over high heat, bring to a simmer and the albuminous scum will start to rise to the top. This is a protein that will make your stock cloudy if you don’t remove it.

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Using a circular motion scoop the scum from the top of the stock. As you move your ladle along the top the scum will gather together and be easier to skim off.

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Gather together your aromatics, the other base flavors for the chicken stock. Carrots, Celery (including leaves), Bay leaves, Peppercorns, Thyme, Parsley Stems, Yellow Onion, Leek, Shallot.

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We’re not always this fancy, but we wanted to show you the “right way” to make a stock. Gather your loose herbs into a sachet, you’re going to make a bouquet garni. Here we have the garlic, peppercorns, celery leaves, thyme, parsley stems, and bay leaves.

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Wrap them in cheesecloth, tie the ends and drop it into your stock pot. This makes the herbs easy to remove at the end, but if you don’t have cheesecloth or don’t want to bother, it’s okay to just throw them in, you just might end up with some stray leaves or peppercorns in your stock.

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Prepare the rest of your aromatics by cleaning and peeling the carrots, leeks, shallot, and onions and add them to your stock pot as well.

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Now lower the heat and take a break. You want to simmer your stock for at least two hours. If your stock reduces down too much, add water. Don’t let the water go below the level of your bones.

After a couple of hours of simmering you can sneak out a couple of ladles for what ever you might be making for dinner tonight. We allowed our stock to cool on the stove so it’s easier to handle when straining.

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When cooled you can skim off excess fat if desired.
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Remove your boquet garni and strain your stock using a colander.
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There’s not a lot of meat in our stock but we picked the bones all the same.
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Maybe enough for a soup for two…
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…and a little snack for someone who’s been patiently waiting as the house has been scented with chicken all day.
Stored in the refrigerator, your stock should keep for 5 days. Freezing stock is also a great way to keep it on hand when you need it. We freeze some of our stock in ice-cube trays. When fully frozen, pop out of the tray and store in a zip lock bag, then you have a measured amount to add to any recipe as needed.
Next time we’ll use our stock to make Chicken Arthur Avenue, Cleonice’s version of Chicken Marsala.
Cary Hanson

About Cary Hanson

My husband and I didn't have children, we had a restaurant. For twelve and a half years we poured body and soul into Cleonice Mediterranean Bistro. We worked closely with local farmers, fishermen, and food artisans, doing our best to support our local community. We made great friends, beautiful food, and had a lot of fun. As Rich and I rediscover ourselves as our own beings outside of the all-consuming restaurant we have time to share our recipes and reminisce about Cleonice.