The backbone of any good soup is a good stock. Whether it’s chicken, beef, seafood, of vegetable – it’s key. When I was first learning to cook, I had the hardest times with soups. It seemed so easy, yet, I kept messing it up. It was always too bland, or too overly seasoned. Thankfully, after a few bunk batches, I got the feel for it. It is almost too easy in it’s simplicity. Some chicken scraps, carrots, celery, onion – combined, transform into liquid gold.
You could easily substitute a turkey carcass, if you happen to have one lying around. It’s quite possible a few of you might! I like to make the stock a day ahead, and refrigerate overnight. That way the fat separates to the top of the stock, and I can skim it right off before reheating to make the whatever it is I might be doing with the stock. I find that poultry, more than anything, renders a ton of fat. So, I always like to remove as much as I can. I don’t even bother peeling the onions or the carrots. I literally stumble to the stove in the morning in my PJ’s, throw the stuff in the pot, and call it a day. Doesn’t get much easier than that, folks!
chicken carcass (and any extra bones or skin)
2 onions, halved
3 carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1″ pieces
10 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon kosher salt
handful fresh parsley (stems are great for this application!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 quarts water
Heat olive oil in large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrots, and celery and saute for about 5 minutes – until onion starts to brown around the edges. Add the chicken carcass to the stockpot, then add enough water so the chicken is submerged in water. Add the salt, peppercorns, and parsley. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for at least 5 hours – longer, if you have the time.
Place a large bowl in the sink, and place a large colander in the bowl. Strain the broth through the colander to remove the solids. Let the broth cool on the counter for an hour or so before placing it in the refrigerator to chill overnight. When ready to use the broth, remove the fat deposit layer from the top with a spoon and discard. Don’t be alarmed that it looks like chicken Jell-O. That’s normal, and precisely what you want. Heat broth over medium heat to bring back to it’s liquid state, then use however you like.