January weather is finally here – It’s cold, it’s snowy, and it’s the perfect time to make a batch of homemade chicken noodle soup. And the best chicken noodle soup starts with homemade chicken stock.
I’ve been using this recipe for years – and it always turns out great. Full of flavor, with a beautiful golden color. This recipe makes enough homemade chicken stock for two big batches of homemade chicken noodle soup – and since it freezes wonderfully, you can have soup today any day of the week.
Homemade Chicken Stock
4 pounds chicken pieces (I usually use wing tips, necks and backs. Each time I purchase a whole chicken I cut it up with chicken shears and freeze these parts until I have enough to make the stock)
1 large onion, quartered
4 carrots, peeled and roughly cut
4 ribs celery, roughly cut
10 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
10 sprigs fresh parsley with stems, or 1 tablespoon dried
10-15 whole peppercorns
2 gallons cold water
Place the chicken, vegetables, and herbs and spices in 12-quart stockpot. Add the cold water, and cook over high heat until the stock just starts to boil. Quickly reduce the heat to medium, allowing the stock to maintain a gentle simmer. Use a small mesh sieve or slotted spoon to periodically remove any foam that rises to the top of the pot.
For the best flavor, let your chicken stock simmer uncovered for at least six hours. Keep an eye on it and, if the water starts getting too low, add more HOT water to the pot.
After the stock has finished cooking, use a fine mesh sieve to strain the stock. Toss the chicken and veggies in the trash (I’m always a big fan of composting veggies – but DON’T compost these ones unless you want all kinds of wildlife to show up in your backyard!).
Let the stock cool for a few hours before sticking it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, use a spoon to remove any of the fat that solidifies at the top. Fresh chicken stock can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to three months.
I always freeze some of my stock in ice cube trays, that way I can use just a small amount when cooking.