Have you ever been to a nice restaurant and tasted a soup or sauce that was so good, and you couldn't figure out WHY? The answer is probably the stock. Most home cooks picture a can of Swanson's when you say "chicken stock" as opposed to the real deal- fresh bones and aromatics simmered for hours to produce the clear, rich, flavorful substance that is stock.
Stock is a great thing to have on hand in your freezer. I freeze my stock into different sized quantities- bigger tupperwares to make large quantities of soup for the business, medium sized containers to make a quick sauce at home, and ice cube trays to add a quick boost of flavor to a dish. There is truly no boxed or can stock that compares to making your own.
One of my favorite cookbooks, "The French Laundry Cookbook" by Thomas Keller illustrates a simpler, quicker way to make stocks. Now you don't have to spend eight hours trapped inside your kitchen, Keller's recipe takes about three hours start to finish.
I can't express how amazing this cookbook is (The French Laundry is argued to be the best restaurant in the world, costing about $260 per person for dinner) and I highly recommend you picking up a copy for yourself (you can purchase one using the link below). But I will give you a quick summary of the process of making chicken stock:
- Clean the bones (about 5-6 lbs) of any impurities
- Place them in a huge stock pot
- Fill pot with cold water
- Gently bring to a simmer
- Skim off the foam/debris that floats to the top
- Add a bunch of ice, skim again
- Add carrots, leeks and onions
- Slowly bring to a simmer
- Simmer 45 mins
- Strain 2-3 times, into small containers
- Keep in freezer for up to 4 months