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How To Make Chicken Stock

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For 60 years, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education. In this video series, experienced chefs and educators show you how to tackle essential cooking techniques.

Watch this video to learn how to make flavorful chicken stock from start to finish, including how to remove the excess fat.

Video Transcript

I'm Chef Rob Mullooly from the Culinary Institute of America, and today I'm going to show you this kitchen basic: chicken stock.

We use chicken stock as a very basic tool in the kitchen. It's a way to flavor our food a little bit more than just using water. Basically it comes down to a few simple ingredients. What you need is poultry bones, and you need a combination of vegetables which is referred to in the culinary world as mirepoix: fifty percent onions, twenty-five percent carrots and twenty-five percent celery. It's a basic standard ratio, and these vegetables will help to flavor your stock.

Go ahead and pour the bones into a pot, and you can put the vegetables in at the same time. Once you have your poultry bones and your mirepoix together, it's very simple: you're just going to add some water. It's a good idea to have enough water in the pot to just come above the poultry bones and the vegetables. What I have here is three pounds of bones, and three-quarters of a pound of mirepoix; this is probably about two and a half quarts, to yield a final product of two quarts.

We turn this up to a boil - we want to be patient and let it come up to a boil - and as soon as it comes up to a boil, you want to turn it down to a simmer. Simmering is crucial if you want your chicken stock to be clear the whole way through. We're going to add the aromatics at this point: fresh thyme, and a couple of bay leaves, and some parsley stems. We're also going to add some black peppercorns to this as well; these are really intense, especially when they're whole, so it's a good idea just to have three or four or five. There should be a hint of black pepper in the back of your throat when you taste it: it shouldn't be spicy.

At this point my stock has just come up to a boil, so I'm going to turn it down to a simmer like we talked about. The foam that comes to the top is not so attractive in the finished product - so take a spoon and just come across the top to skim it off. What you're looking to do is remove some of that coagulated protein, so you have a clear stock and a good finished product.

Now, at this point it's been about two and a half hours, and I'm ready to take out the bones with a slotted spoon. It smells fantastic; it's got a nice color, it's not clear, it's slightly yellowish in color, and all the aromatics, all the bones, all the vegetables are working together to make a good flavorful broth. I'll take my ladle and strain this right through; the finished product is beautiful.

We continue with the ladle and then once it becomes manageable, it's not a bad idea - just to make your life a little bit simpler, a little bit easier - to do a quick pour over the strainer, nice and easy. Good! You want to get it all, that's all the flavor.

We got a pretty good yield from this chicken stock. If you can see some of this fat on the top, you can take the back of the ladle and just make a little circle in the top and then come around the edge here, just to take some of that fat off the top - but not taking out too much of the stock. A lot of the time, what we'll do is we'll let the stock cool down, and the fat will congeal on the top and become solidified; then we'll be able to pull the fat off in pieces, which is a little bit easier.

So now you have a nice chicken stock.