Posted by: Karen (Betty Bear) | February 6, 2013

I hab a cold, therefore chicken soup

And it’s a doozy. I have been wiped out since Sunday and my poor nose is sore. So, in honor of the rhinovirus, and for Barb, I’m telling you how I make chicken stock. I try to always have some on hand because so many recipes use it and a quick soup is always a good go-to for dinner. From what I understand from a friend who attended the Culinary Institute of America, the difference between a stock and a broth is that stock is made with uncooked meat and broth with cooked, although they are used pretty much interchangeably.

Here goes:

one really big soup pot

5 – 7 lbs. cut up chicken, including skin and bones (I used to have a grocery store that butchered their own chickens and could get bags of backs and necks for almost nothing – if you have this option you can skip the whole getting the meat off the bone step)

4- 5 onions, peel, cut into quarters

4 – 5 stalks of celery – leaves are good, cut into 2″ chunks

4 – 5 carrots, cut into 2″ chunks

5 or so cloves of garlic, peeled

10 or so peppercorns

several large sprigs of parsley

about 2 teaspoons of Herbes de Provence OR 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon dried sage leaves, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon rosemary

You’ll notice that all of the amounts for the ingredients are approximate. It really doesn’t matter too much if you have more or less of something; it all seems to work out just fine. Toss everything into the pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. If you did the bag of backs and necks, skip down to the *. After 45 minutes, scoop out the chicken pieces and let them cool enough to be handled. Remove the meat from the pieces and throw everything else back into the pot. I cut the cooked chicken into chunks and freeze in one cup portions in sandwich bags to use in soup, quesadillas, burridos, enchiladas, chicken and biscuits, chicken salad, whatever recipe needs cooked chicken. Simmer the pot for anywhere from 2-4 hours, although I’ve let it go longer if I was out of the house for the day. * Strain the whole pot into a smaller pot that will fit on your refrigerator shelf. Throw all the stuff in the strainer out. Let the second pot of strained stock sit in the fridge at least overnight. All the fat will rise to the surface and harden. Scoop it off and throw it out unless you are saving some to make matzo balls with (yum, yum). I then strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer into quart and pint jars, filling them only 3/4 full (or else they break!), and freeze. If you only need a small amount for a recipe, it’s just fine to thaw some in the microwave, pour out what you need and re-freeze the rest.

You can make broth the same way, just use the carcass from roasted chickens. It’s a great way to make use of them if you get rotisserie chickens from the store. Stick the carcass in a freezer bag until you have 2 or 3 or 4 and then have at it!

It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s in small increments and most of the cooking time is hands off so it really isn’t hard to do and it makes a HUGE difference in the taste of soup.





  1. I don’t like to handle meat, especially raw meat, so my stock recipe is for vegetable stock. (I will eat meat, I just don’t prepare it.) I think a good stock is a great thing to have around.

    Get better soon!

  2. Thanks, Karen! That doesn’t sound too difficult, I will try it. Hope you are feeling better soon.

    • It’s a very forgiving recipe too. Timing really doesn’t matter all that much, nor do amounts, so you can fudge it if you need to. And thanks! ME TOO!!

  3. Are you cured now? We could do this, without the onions though.
    (I didn’t think you could freeze glass jars at all, which annoys me because I prefer glass to anything else.)

    Printing for Dan. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Not cured yet – this seems to be particularly virulent as colds go. I’d miss the onions, but, sure, you can do without.
    And the only problem with freezing glass is making VERY sure that there is enough room for whatever you have in there to expand. No more than 3/4 full.
    Our chest freezer has glass jars with: pesto, chicken stock, tomato puree, tomatilla salsa, and probably some other stuff I’ve forgotten about.

  5. Sounds a good bit like the recipe I use, but it calls for cloves and no thyme or sage. I may try this recipe next time, though.

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