I think there are certain recipes every home cook should know. Pancakes, meatloaf, pot roast, maybe a really great stew or chili con carne recipe. You get the idea. As such, stock belongs in the category of must have recipes. You could use canned stock or bouillon cubes or whatever. But given how easy stock is to make, and how much better it tastes than store bought, there’s really no excuse for not making your own stock.

There are many reasons why I like this recipe. It’s easy to use and can be easily doubled, tripled, or halved. There’s room for variation (sometimes I like to roast the bones in the oven first). And once assembled, the stock cooks itself. Which is a real plus for those of us who have better things to do than slave over a hot stove all evening.

3 lbs chicken bones

10 cups water

2 celery stalks, cut into chunks

2 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

1 onion cut into chunks

1-2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole

1 red bell pepper cut in chunks

2 bay leaves

2 tsp thyme

2 tsp basil

Put chicken bones, vegetables and garlic in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring water to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and allow to come to a simmer. With a strainer or slotted spoon remove foam that forms on top of the soup and discard. Once no more foam forms on top of the soup, add seasonings.

Simmer stock partly covered for two hours, stirring occasionally. When done, remove pot from the heat. With tongs or a slotted spoon remove vegetables from the stock and discard. Remove bones to a plate and allow to cool. When the bones are cool enough to handle, remove and shred any meat, returning it to the pot.

Skim any fat from the top of the stock and discard. Remove stock to storage containers and freeze until ready to use. Sometimes for variation I like to use shallots, white or purple onions. If you want a richer chicken stock, brown the bones in the oven at 450F for 45 minutes or until the bones are nicely browned. Remove from the oven and proceed as directed.


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