- 3 pounds chicken pieces (may substitute turkey)
- Kitchen twine
- 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 to 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 to 3 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 1 large onion, peel left on and diced
- 1 large leek, diced
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- 2 small tomatoes, coarsely chopped
- 4 whole cloves
- 6 peppercorns
- Salt and pepper, to taste
If you have chicken pieces with multiple joints, such as wings, cut into the joint with a knife to expose the collagen in the joints; this will give the stock a richer texture.
With a length of kitchen twine, tie herb sprigs together with bay leaves into a bundle. This is your bouquet garni.
Place chicken, carrots, celery, onions, leeks, garlic, tomatoes, bouquet garni, cloves and peppercorns in a large soup pot. Add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches (about 4 quarts). Bring the pot to a simmer over medium heat, and skim any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat so the liquid is barely simmering. You should only see a few bubbles intermittently rising to the surface.
Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours. During the cooking process, add a little more liquid to the pot if needed to keep the ingredients submerged.
Strain stock, pressing hard on the meat and vegetables to squeeze out the juices. Discard meat and vegetables.
Season stock with salt and pepper.
You may remove excess fat from the surface of the stock by either skimming with a ladle, using a fat separator or by placing the stock in the refrigerator overnight and removing the solid fat layer that rises to the top.
Important note: With a batch of stock this size it is important to cool it as quickly as possible. Here are 2 good methods:
1) Place the pot in a bath of ice water in your sink, and stir occasionally until it is cooled, then refrigerate.
2) Let the stock cool for about 15 minutes, then pour into individual heat-proof jars and put them directly in the refrigerator. Leave an inch of room at the top of the jar to allow for expansion when freezing. Later you can scoop the fat layer from the top.
You can store the stock in the refrigerator for several days. If you are not going to use it within that period, freeze it for up to 6 months.
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