22, May 2011
Chicken stock

This is essentially the basic chicken stock recipe from the Cook’s Illustrated “New Best Recipe” book. It’s nice because it doesn’t take very long and makes a very flavorful stock, though all the chicken-hacking can be a pain (it’s messy; you might want to put down a tarp). This has become my go-to soup base, usually for an Asian-flavored noodle soup. I leave the bay leaves out for a more neutral flavor, or I substitute a few ginger slices. Using chicken backs results in a lot of fat, which can be useful; I haven’t tried wingtips or legs yet, but they may be less fatty.


1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, medium diced
4 lb chicken backs and wingtips or whole legs, hacked into 2-inch pieces
2 quarts boiling water
2 tsp salt


Heat the oil in a large stockpot or dutch oven on medium-high. Add the onion and saute about 3 minutes. Remove to a large bowl. Add half of the chicken pieces to the pot. Saute until no longer pink, 4-5 minutes. Remove to the bowl with the onion. Saute the rest of the chicken. Return the onion and chicken pieces to the pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook about 20 minutes, until the chicken releases its juices.

Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil. Increase the heat to high. Add the boiling water and salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover and barely simmer about 20 more minutes.

Strain into a container. Refrigerate overnight, then skim the solid fat from the top (fat can be skimmed without refrigeration if you want to use the stock the same night, but it’s easier when it’s cold). Makes about 2 quarts.