There’s something so satisfying about making your own stock. You get to use up all the parts of a chicken and some vegetables; nothing goes to waste. And as with almost anything home-made, it’s just better, richer, fresher, fuller. I find it a fun project for snow days.
I’ve adapted this recipe from my Italian grandmother’s stewed chicken. The addition of fennel stalks was inspired by a chef in Jerusalem, who uses them as the base for a meatless stock, in order to keep Kosher requirements, and said it tastes like chicken. I thought adding it to my own stock would enhance its depth and texture, and I love how this recipe crosses the Mediterranean.
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I freeze it in varying volumes, filling large ice trays with 1/4 cup in each well and pouring amounts ranging from one-half cup to two cups into food containers. That way I can always thaw the precise amount I need. Because it’s just so satisfying to let nothing go to waste.
- 1 chicken carcass, in lg. pieces whatever is left over, bones, cartilage, skin, bits of meat
- 1 carrot, cut in lg. pieces
- stalks of 1 fennel bulb, w/ fronds, cut in lg. pieces
- 2 stalks celery, w/ leaves, cut in lg. pieces
- 1 lg. onion, quartered
- 1 bunch Italian parsley
- 4 peppercorns
- 1 tbsp Kosher salt
Place all ingredients in lg stockpot. Fill pot with water to c. one inch below rim.
Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are soft, approx. 3-4 hours, adding water from time to time if starting to simmer down.
Remove lg. pieces of chicken and vegetables with slotted spoon and discard. Strain broth into fresh pot. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat. Simmer down to one-half to two-thirds volume, approx. 1-2 hours.
Use immediately or let cool and freeze.