Chicken soup is one of the most comforting and nourishing dishes when you feel sick plus a good chicken stock is the base of many wonderful soups and dishes. This classic recipe is rich... enough to stand on its own as a broth but also adds deep flavor to stews and risottos. If you can find a free-range boiling hen, great, if not a roasting chicken will do just fine, but you won’t have to cook it as long. If there are giblets, set aside the liver but use the neck, heart, and gizzards in the stock. You can add vegetables like leeks or turnips to the pot for extra taste. You can make a lighter stock using our Poultry Bone Stock.
Rinse the chicken. Pull out any fat from the inside of the body cavity and throw it away. Put the whole chicken into a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil until a film starts to form. Throw the water away and rinse the chicken again.
Stick the cloves in the onions. Cut the carrots in half, and then into quarters lengthwise.
Put the onions, carrots, and celery into the pot with the drained chicken. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, and finish with the parsley sprigs. Cover with 6 quarts of cold water and bring to a boil.
Reduce the head to low add 1 tablespoon sea salt. Simmer for 1½ to 2 hours, partially covered or until the chicken meat falls from the bone – this will take twice as long if you are using a boiling fowl.
Pull meat from the bones, then drain the stock through a fine sieve into a clean pot and bring to a boil and reduce by about a quarter. Adjust the stock for salt, strain again. Store in the fridge and use within 3 days or store in the freezer.
I always freeze my stock in small quantities for easy use. Pour the stock into quart size re-sealable plastic freezer bags, 2 cups at a time, and freeze flat in your freezer compartment. Once frozen, they won’t take up much room in the freezer, and you can easily break off a piece of stock if you need to use a little in a sauce or stew. You can also fill an ice tray and make frozen stock cubes.
You can keep chicken stock for around 3 months in the freezer. When freezing all foods, always mark the bag with the date frozen, the amount, and what it is. Trust me, you won’t remember unless you do.