There is today–here in southern Arizona–the promise of our first fall’ish day: a high of only 80 degrees and rain! Fall being my favorite of the seasons, I’m admittedly giddy. We can count on high temps in the mid to upper eighties throughout October, but evenings bring with them a definite crispness in the air–totally suitable for soup. Lucky for me, my deep freezer currently houses several jars of homemade chicken stock, ready to be defrosted and savored at a moment’s notice. And, can I just tell you, the store-bought version pales miserably in comparison to the liquid gold that is homemade chicken stock.
Right now is the perfect time to whip up a great big batch of chicken stock for your own freezer. If you don’t already have one, you’ll want to invest in a suitable cooking vessel. I own this 20-quart stock pot with lid and I’ve been very happy with it. The recipe below typically yields about 12-14 quart-sized Mason jars of chicken stock (each one containing approximately three cups of stock). My family of five tends to sip through that amount of stock in a month or less during the fall and winter months. We use it for our homemade soups, of course, but also as the cooking liquid in place of water in quinoa, polenta and rice recipes. Try it for yourself; I guarantee you’ll taste the difference.
*Cooking note: Because this recipe is all about pulling flavor and nutrients from the ingredients, I find it especially important to use organic ingredients in this recipe.*
- 7 quarts filtered drinking water
- 3 whole roasting chickens, rinsed
- 3 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
- 6 carrots (preferably with tops), unpeeled, rinsed and halved
- 4 stalks of celery, untrimmed and cut in thirds
- 4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in half lengthwise
- 20 sprigs of parsley
- 20 sprigs of dill
- 15 sprigs of thyme
- 1 head (head, not clove!) of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Combine all ingredients in a large stockpot, cover and bring to a boil. Once the stock comes to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for four hours.
- Strain stock by pouring it through a fine mesh sieve. Discard solids. Divide strained stock evenly between 12-14 quart size Mason jars. Allow to cool before refrigerating overnight.
- Remove jars from refrigerator and remove and discard fat solids by scooping off with a spoon. Use immediately or freeze for up to three months.
SOURCE: INA GARTEN