- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 large celery stalks, roughly chopped
- 1 head garlic, cut in half widthwise
- 1 ounce dried mushrooms (I used shiitakes), lightly rinsed
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 6 sprigs flat leaf parsley
- A handful of basil leaves
- 3 fresh bay leaves
- 1 cup dry white wine (such as sauvignon blanc)
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, toasted
- 2 chicken carcasses
- 16 to 18 cups water, or enough to cover
Start by peeling 3 carrots and removing the skin from 1 onion. Also trim root and leafy ends from 3 stalks of celery. Roughly chop carrot, celery and onion. Precision is not needed here.
Next, cut the entire head of garlic in half widthwise. Keep the skin on the garlic, but discard any loose bits that may fall off. Quickly rinse any grit off 1 ounce of dried mushrooms (I used shiitake), then shake off excess water. These vegetables provide a flavorful base for the stock. The mushrooms will add a distinct savoriness (umami).
Rinse fresh herbs including 6 sprigs of parsley, 6 sprigs of thyme, 3 fresh bay leaves and a handful of basil leaves. Herbs will add a little complexity without overpowering the chicken flavor.
Let the vegetables cook for a few minutes without moving them. Eventually the vegetables will release water, the water will cook off and then the vegetables can start caramelizing. While the veg is cooking, wrap the herbs up in a bundle and secure with cooking string.
Also, place 1 tablespoon black peppercorns in a small, dry skillet (no oil). Warm over medium heat until fragrant (about 2 – 3 minutes). Once toasted, transfer to a small bowl. Toasting whole spices is an easy way to bump up flavor.
Once the vegetables start caramelizing (turning golden brown), stir every few minutes. Caramelization = flavor. If you are constantly stirring, the caramelization process can take a while, so resist the urge. You probably won’t be able to caramelize all the bits and pieces, but try to get some color on most of them.
If you notice that your vegetables are burning quickly, you probably have the heat too high. Drop the heat a bit and continue cooking. I move on to the next step once I start feeling the vegetables stick to the bottom more frequently (10 – 15 minutes).
Next, deglaze the pan with 1 cup of dry white wine (I use sauvignon blanc). This means, pour the wine into the pot and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon, releasing all of the brown bits from the bottom. Stir then cook until most of the liquid has cooked off.
Top with two chicken carcasses. When I make roast chicken, I save all of the bones in a large plastic bag. I then store that bag in the freezer. Once I have collected bones from two chickens, I make chicken stock!
Pour over water to cover everything. I usually use 16 to 18 cups of water. If you use too much water, you can dilute the flavor of your stock. So just fill up the pot until it reaches the top of the carcasses.
Increase heat to medium-high and cook until small bubbles start coming to the surface (this can take about 10 minutes). Do not bring the mixture to a boil. If you cook the stock violently, the water movement will cause the vegetables and chicken to break down. These small bits are difficult to strain and will cloud your stock. Once you start to see bubbles coming to the surface, drop the heat to low and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Do not stir the stock. This will also cloud your finished product. During the first 10 minutes of cooking, skim off any gray bubbles that float to the surface. You don’t have to stress and skim everything. Just try to remove most of it.
After the stock has simmered for 2 1/2 hours, remove it from the heat. Next, strain the stock once with medium-mesh strainer then again with a fine-mesh strainer. There are many ways to do this. I’ll walk you through my process. I like to start by scooping the large solids into a medium-mesh strainer set over a large bowl with a pour spout. I gently press on the solids to extract all liquid. I then discard the solids.
Once most of the large solids have been strained, I pour the stock through the medium-mesh strainer into the big bowl with pour spout until 3/4 full. Then, I pour the liquids through a fine-mesh strainer into a large metal bowl. I repeat this process until all stock is double strained.