Susan Volland’s Really Good Turkey or Chicken Stock
Yield: About 8 cups
Chicken is perhaps the most familiar and universal of stocks. It is savory and flavorful but still quite neutral and lightly colored. Made from scratch, it has enough natural collagen to become viscous and syrupy when concentrated.
The best chicken stocks are made from stewing hens, which taste intensely of chicken. Farm-fresh stewing hens are mature birds that have lost all their tenderness. In Seattle, I can find small, wiry, tough-as-nails birds in the freezer section of Asian markets and sometimes Latin groceries. If stewing hens are not available, substitute chicken wings. The cartilage and connective tissues in the wings add more gelatin and body to stock than meatier pieces do. You can also use turkey wings to make Really Good Turkey Stock. Use a cleaver and poultry shears to cut through the bones.
I highly recommend using a pressure cooker for maximum flavor and infusion (see below for instructions).
About 10 cups cold water
2 small stewing hens
OR 2–3lbs (1–1.4kg) turkey or chicken wings, all pieces cut into 2″ (5cm) chunks
1 large yellow onion, cut into medium slices
1 carrot, peeled and cut into medium slices
1 stalk celery, sliced (optional)
1 bouquet garni (1 large fresh thyme sprig, 1 bay leaf, 3–4 sprigs bruised parsley)
5–7 black peppercorns
Pinch of kosher salt
½ cup white wine (optional)
To Prepare: Combine the chicken chunks, vegetables, bouquet garni, peppercorns, salt (and wine, if using) in a stockpot. Add enough cold water to cover everything by no more than 1″ (2½cm). Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then partially cover with a lid, reducing the heat, and cook at a trembling simmer for 1½ hours. You can poke down ingredients that bob up to the top now and then, but do not stir them, otherwise the stock will turn cloudy.
Set a large sieve or colander over a container. For clearer stock, line it with a few layers of dampened cheesecloth to catch smaller particulates. Carefully pour the stock through the strainer, without agitating the pieces too much. Stop pouring once the sediment runs. Strain the stock, without pressing on the solids. Discard the solids.
(Note: Putting pots of piping-hot stock in the refrigerator can raise the internal temperature to unsafe levels, so leave the stock out to cool before refrigerating.)
Storage: Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months.
Optional: If you have time, blanch the chicken pieces before starting. Place them in a pot with enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Drain, discarding the water, and proceed with the rest of the steps above. You may think this blanching step would drain off flavor, but it actually results in a clearer, more cleanly flavored end product.
Roasted Chicken and/or Turkey Stock
Yield: 6 to 7 cups
To Prepare: Preheat the oven to 400°F/205°C. Toss the chicken chunks and vegetables in vegetable oil and arrange them in two roasting pans or rimmed baking sheets. Roast, flipping the pieces every 10 to 15 minutes, until they turn an even dark brown, about 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a stockpot. Deglaze the roasting pans with the wine, using the back of a spoon to gently dissolve the flavorful bits on the bottom of the pans. Add the deglazing liquid and the remaining ingredients to the stockpot and proceed. This yield will be reduced to 6 to 7 cups.
Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock
Halve the recipe and put the ingredients in a pressure cooker. Seal and cook according to manufacturer’s directions for 40 to 45 minutes.