Cooking School

3 steps for the best homemade chicken stock ever

By: Rheanna Kish

Photography by Rheanna Kish Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photography by Rheanna Kish

Cooking School

3 steps for the best homemade chicken stock ever

By: Rheanna Kish
I love making stock. It takes me back to my chef school and restaurant days when I tended over endless vats of the steamy broth. Essentially it's one of the easiest things you can make and one that provides the base to countless delicious possibilities.

I've been craving chicken noodle soup lately. I think the long, cold winter is finally getting to me and I need a chicken noodle hug! Not the canned variety. I mean the real deal. Right from scratch – stock and all.

There are 3 key steps to making the clearest, most beautiful broth ever.

1. Start with cold water. Combine all the ingredients (onion, celery, carrots, herbs, spices, etc) in the largest pan you've got. Add cold water. Don't be tempted to speed the process along by starting with warm or hot water – the result will be a cloudy broth.
  
2. Don't boil the stock. Bring the stock up to just boiling then immediately lower the temperature to a bare simmer. Boiling is one of the main causes for a cloudy broth.
    
3. Skim often. Especially in the beginning. Lots of thick, gungy foam will come off the stock at the beginning. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with the foam, it doesn't contribute at all to a pure, clean broth. Keep a ladle and a bowl right next to the stove and skim it every time you walk by.

How to make chicken soup from stock
Start by adding bone-in skin-on chicken pieces. After the chicken is cooked through, remove it. Let it cool and pull the meat of the bones. Then return only bones to the pot to continue simmering and making flavour. This prevents the meat from overcooking and getting tough.

Other tips for great stock:
- Roast the bones or vegetables before simmering – this adds a rich depth of flavour that can't be beat.

- Be creative with your additions. Sure, straight forward onion, carrot, celery and a bay leaf or two is great, but why not try garlic, ginger and star anise? Yum!

- Use your slow cooker. It is one of the best tools for easy, hands-free stock. You don't even have to be home while it's cooking!

Inspired yet? Try this Homestyle Chicken Noodle Soup recipe which includes a recipe for homemade chicken broth. It'll cure what ails you!

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Cooking School

3 steps for the best homemade chicken stock ever

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