Chicken Stock

For years, I read countless recipe books and blog posts raving about homemade chicken stock. I tried making stock a number of times but always ended up with bland dishwater that needed to be fortified with bouillon powder to be edible. So I gave up… until I found a recipe that changed everything. I used to avoid making soup at all costs (because mine always seemed painfully bland) but this stock has changed that, too. The secret? Roasting the poultry bones before throwing them in the soup pot. It seems like an unnecessary step but I promise you, it makes a world of difference.

Roasted Chicken Stock
adapted from Mennonite Girls Can Cook 

1 chicken or turkey carcass
12-16 cups water (more for the turkey, less for the chicken)
2 tsp salt
4 pepper corns
4 whole garlic cloves
1 unpeeled onion, chopped
2 scrubbed, unpeeled chopped carrots
2 stalks chopped celery
1/2 cup fresh parsley, unchopped
1-2 bay leaves
a few sprigs of thyme, if you have them

In a large roasting pan, spread out the remains of the poultry carcass (I had stuffed this chicken with parsley and lemon so threw that in as well). Here, I used the same pan I used for roasting potatoes. I didn’t wash it so the leftover crumbly bits could be added to the stock. Roast the bones at 425 degrees; 45 minutes for chicken and 60 minutes for turkey. When they are done, they will look significantly browner.

Before & After Roasting

When the bones are roasted, add them to a large stock pot, cover with water and add the remaining ingredients. It will look like a horrible mess of peels, skins and very dark chicken bits (see below) but don’t worry. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 3-4 hours. Remove from heat, cool to warm and strain.

NOTE: this original recipe calls for 2 cubes of chicken boullion to be added to the broth. I skip this and add more flavouring to taste, if needed, when I later use the stock. Depending on what soup I am making, a bit of extra seasoning (poultry seasoning, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper) usually does the trick.


2 thoughts on “Chicken Stock

  1. I've never had to add chicken bouillon cubes to my stock, but then I've never used cooked bones–I use chicken backs, about 2 or 3, whatever fits in the pot after all the veggies are in. They are very cheap!
    I'd like to try roasting bones next time I have a chicken carcass, that is a great idea!

  2. Using backs is a great idea. I'll have to try that sometime! And yes- roasting the bones makes really wonderful stock.

    What has happened to us? 10 years ago, we cared more about acquiring another pair of stilettos and now we sincerely care about making good chicken stock! Does this mean we've officially grown up?! Or (gasp) that we've finally turned into our mothers?!

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