There is continuous debate over the difference between chicken stock and chicken broth. In French cooking, they’re very different — stock is simmered with bones, whereas broth is simmered with meat only. Then there are brown stocks and white stocks, indicating whether or not the ingredients were first roasted. Vegetables, spices, and herbs always vary, depending on the type of stock (or broth). Generally speaking however, for everyday cooking chicken stock and chicken broth are interchangeable terms.
And then bone broth came along, which is associated with beef or chicken. Bone broth (chicken in this case) is the same thing as chicken stock, which is the same thing as chicken broth, which is the same thing as bone broth… Regardless of your favorite simmered chicken term of endearment, we’re all after the same result: an herby, slightly sweet, but savory, meaty, perfectly golden liquid with body and a gorgeous fat cap on top. And getting there isn’t quite as long, difficult, or complicated as you might think.
Chicken stock in 30 minutes (or more)
A decent chicken stock can be made in as little as 30 minutes with bone-in chicken thighs; Just four thighs will yield approximately 2 1/2 cups of chicken stock (I like to use 8 thighs for a double batch). If you let it continue to simmer for another 30 minutes, the flavors will become more concentrated through evaporation, leaving you with about 2 1/4 cups, and a better tasting stock. But here’s the thing — in order to yield this much flavor in such a short amount of time, the chicken thighs must have the skin on, and you must brown the skin in the same pan you’ll be using for the stock. Easy.
Let it keep going for another hour or two, and you’ve hit the Powerball jackpot of chicken stocks because this is the point where the collagen breaks down and begins to melt into the simmering liquid, giving the stock body. Velvet.
No fancy knife cuts needed
You don’t have to get fancy with knife cuts or flavors either. I am a big fan of cutting an onion in half and throwing it into the pot, skin and all. In my house, carrots and celery are broken in half and added with a piece of kombu for its minerals, along with a generous handful of fresh, flat-leaf Italian parsley, stems and all. Depending on its intended use, I don’t usually include additional herbs or any salt to the stock at this point, but you can add your favorites.
Nothing needs to be tied in cheesecloth or French-classicalized because you’ll be straining it all out after the stock cools slightly. When the process is over, you’ll also have a few cups of falling-off-the-bone shredded chicken that can be used for dinners or lunches during the week. Bonus.
- 8 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in
- 2 carrots,cleaned, broken in half
- 2 celery stalks, cleane d, broken in half
- 1 yellow onion, cleaned, cut in half
- 1 piece kombu
- 1 bunch fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
- peppercorn, herbs to taste (optional)
- Preheat a medium stock pot over medium heat. Add chicken thighs, skin down. Cook until golden brown. Turn thighs in pan, skin side up.
- Add vegetables, kombu, and optional herbs.
- Remove from heat, add enough water to cover meat and vegetables
- Bring to boiling, reduce to a simmer. Simmer 30 minutes for a quick chicken stock, or longer for more developed flavor, up to 3 hours.
- Remove from heat, let stand 15 minutes. Strain, reserve liquid, chicken, and vegetables separately. Refrigerate, covered up to 5 days.
P.S. if it had bones, you’ve been making chicken stock all of these years.
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