Author note: Chicken stock is one of my most favorite items to cook. When homemade chicken stock is added to meals, it enhances the flavors and gives it a whole new depth. Chicken stock is freezer friendly and is something I always have handy. To tell when the stock is done, take a spoonful of stock, add a pinch of kosher salt and if you want to keep eating it, stop the cooking process. If it tastes watery, continue to let it cook and reduce. Finally, use the leftover meat for other meals like chicken enchiladas, chicken salad with whole grain mustard and fresh thyme, cornmeal chicken pepper soup or chicken nachos ( pesto or buffalo chicken)
1 whole chicken (about 4 ½ to 5 pounds)
2 carrots, quartered
1 celery heart, leaves removed and halved
1 head of garlic, halved
2 leeks, white parts only
2 onions, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
5 parsley stems
5 branches of thyme
1 teaspoon peppercorns
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
16 cups water
- Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
- In a large dutch oven, add chicken, carrots, celery, garlic, leeks, onions and tomatoes. Evenly distribute the oil over the chicken and vegetables.
- Place the dutch oven into the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bundle the bay leaves, parsley stems and thyme and tie with kitchen twine.
- Remove the dutch oven from the oven and place on the stove-top. Add water, herbs and peppercorns to the dutch oven. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a moderate simmer and let cook for 2 ½ hours or until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Remove the dutch oven from the stove-top. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let cool. Strain the stock from the vegetables and let cool. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freeze after cooling completely.