White Chicken Stock

Chop the vegetables in 1-inch pieces (halfway in size between fish and veal/beef), since the poultry stocks cook for only 2 hours, and the vegetables must cook and fall apart in that time.

For a clear stock, bring the liquid to a boil quickly, but be there when it first boils, because you have to immediately turn it down to a mere simmer. That initial boiling will release albumin and blood, which rise to the surface of the water. Skim that all off until there is none left, and with the occasional gentle stirring in the first 10 minutes, the stock will be crystal clear.

Old boiling hens will give the best stock (and meat for salad), but bones, feet (for gelatinous structure in the stock, important for sauces), and parts are the most economical.

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds chicken or duck parts—backs, wings, feet, necks
  • 5 quarts water
  • 1 large onion, peeled, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, washed, chopped
  • 1 large Herb Bundle
  • 2 tablespoons salt

Method

Rinse and wash the chicken parts under cold running water. It is important to wash away any blood so that the stock, free of blood and albumins, stands the best chance of being clear when it is finished.

Put the chicken parts in a pot with the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. The moment it boils, lower the heat to a bare simmer. Skim off all the scum and fat on the surface of the water. Gently move the bones around a bit to loosen more blood and albumin, then skim again. Keep skimming and stirring until the stock is clear.

When the stock is clear, add the vegetables, herb bundle, and salt, and simmer, uncovered, for 2 hours. Strain the stock, cool uncovered quickly, and refrigerate, covered, until needed.

For rich stock, simmer the strained stock until reduced by one third.

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