I posted a picture on Instagram this week about some stock I was making and apparently there was quite a bit of interest in what I put in it. Like most of my food posts, there’s usually a story…
Homemade stock and I do NOT go way back. Gasps here wouldn’t be inappropriate. I had made plenty of stocks, yes, but when I was looking to make a soup at home, I had often purchased store-bought organic chicken or vegetable stock because it kept on the shelf and I could just grab and go. No biggie, right?
It was my sister’s boyfriend, Erik, who first inspired me to never buy stock again. Basically, Erik would ask to take home the carcasses from our turkey, chicken, or goose dinner (last years Christmas dinner!) so he could make stock. It had never really occurred to me to make stock on a regular basis, but seeing his habit and process made my see the possibilities. Now, time has past and he has made me wiser. My freezer currently has 10 quarts of stock. I make and use it pretty much every week with our leftover chicken bones, the ends of my onions I don’t need, herbs from the garden and anything else I have in my fridge that I can throw in the pot! Stock has become my favorite things to make because it is so easy to throw together, it leaves an amazingly awesome scent in my kitchen, and I can drink it on it’s own. Call me weird, but try drinking it yourself and we’ll see if you feel the same way.
If you like, remove the chicken bones for a straight up veggie stock. The measurements below are only for those who need them. The beauty of stock is that you can really use whatever you want. As long as you have onion, garlic, salt & pepper, and some sort of herb, you can’t go wrong. The addition of leeks and fennel are just related to what the soup will become. This stock could be the base of a soup or gravy and therefore need to be at the top of its game. Try the stuff from the store and tell me if it doesn’t taste like the distant relative of water. Blech. I learned my lesson. Homemade stock is the only way for me. I’m just doing you a favor and converting you now so you don’t lose any time like I did!
Herbed Fennel and Leek Chicken Stock:
1 whole chicken carcass (sorry, there just isn’t really a better word!)
2 leeks, end and green tops removed and slice down the middle
1 large fennel bulb or 2 small
the ends and skins of several onions, maybe 5
1 head of garlic, broken into cloves
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1/4 cup of salt
3 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of dill
2 sprigs of thyme
7 quarts of water or enough to fill up a 8 quart stock pot after all the ingredients are added
Add all ingredients to a pot, bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for at least 1 hour. Although, I prefer at least an hour and a half so I can get the richest stock possible. Strain and you’re ready to go!