Sunday mornings I almost always make chicken stock. Usually, I manage to have it simmering on the stove before the kids wake up. A batch of fresh stock gets me through the week for making rice, risotto, soups and beans. Typically, my menus for the week allow me to freeze half of the stock. When a busy Sunday arrives, I have the reserve in the freezer.
It’s no secret that when you use homemade chicken stock, everything tastes better. Another advantage is fresh stock allows you to manage your family’s salt intake better, which is important to me. I love to use fresh bay leaves from my laurel tree. The tree is beautiful, but also totally convenient for fresh leaves for cooking stocks, soups and beans. I prefer the mild, delicate taste of the fresh bay leaf as opposed to the dried, which tends to be more potent and overpowering.
1 whole chicken
2 large carrots
3 celery ribs with leaves
1 large onion
1 garlic head
3 fresh bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme
5 sprigs of parsley
In the morning, chop the carrots and celery in thirds, the onion in quarters, and the garlic in half and place in a large stockpot with chicken. Cover all ingredients completely with water, add the herbs and peppercorns.
Use whatever herbs you have on hand in your garden. If I have an abundance of cilantro, savory, or sage, I will use them in place or in addition to the other herbs.
Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered gently all day. At night, I strain the liquid, (I save the remaining chicken and veggies in the freezer for the puppy’s kong) pour stock into containers to refrigerate or freeze and go to bed!