Homemade chicken stock or homemade chicken broth are the best thing to have on hand in your kitchen but have you ever wondered what the difference is between “stock” and “broth?” I’ve come across this statement on the internet: “Chicken stock tends to be made more from bony parts, whereas chicken broth is made more out of meat.”
So what do you call it when it’s made with a whole chicken? More importantly, what’s the point of making your own homemade chicken stock (and broth) when both are so readily available in cans and boxes? I can’t speak for you, but I am rather particular about it.
Commercial chicken stocks and broths are made with onions, celery and loads of other ingredients. They can be a lifesaver in a pinch, but here comes my reasoning—the flavor isn’t really “right.” Store bought chicken stocks can be rather thick and cloudy, and while they may be perfect to use for a pot of chicken noodle soup, they’re not ideal for Chinese cooking.
Chinese cooking focuses on “原汁原味,” (yuán zhī yuán wèi) which directly translated means “original essence, original taste.” As you can see, this homemade chicken stock recipe is made with only three ingredients, 4 if you include the water. The goal is to capture the essence of the chicken in liquid form. If you decide to try out this recipe…when the chicken stock is made, taste it with a pinch of salt, and you will understand what I am talking about: pure and loaded with umami.
I always have this homemade chicken stock in the refrigerator. I use it instead of water in my cooking, especially for soups like: Hot and Sour Soup, Simple Wonton Soup, Cantonese Wonton Noodle Soup and Easy Fish Tofu Soup. It’s a great way to add flavor to a dish that otherwise would be lackluster due to large portion of the dish is liquid.
Cantonese cooks are even fancier with their use of stock–they use it to cook leafy greens like pea tips and baby you cai in a slightly soupy sauce. Who knew vegetables could taste so good? In the meantime, give this simple recipe a try. You may never buy chicken stock in a can or a box again.
- one 4 lb whole chicken (I used organic chicken.)
- 5 slices ginger
- 4 scallions, keep whole
- 18 cups cold water
Put all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring it to a boil over high heat, and then immediately turn down the heat to medium low. Cover the lid, and let simmer for 4 to 6 hours—the longer the better.
Once the stock is cooled, strain the broth into individual containers or canning jars and store them in the refrigerator or freezer for future use. I usually don’t salt the stock at this stage, preferring to add salt as needed when cooking whatever recipe I’m using the stock in.
As for the chicken, at this point…it’s no longer edible (unless you enjoy dry, boiled chicken). All that flavor went straight from the chicken into the stock. I usually just pick out and discard all the bones and reserve the meat for deluxe chicken dinners for Barley (and Jake, before her). Lucky dogs, I say!
P.S. when making chicken stock, put everything in the pot at the beginning, and try not to add anything along the way. Most importantly, do not add cold water to the pot during the simmering process!
Enjoy this one guys, it’s a pillar of our recipe arsenal!
Judy’s Easy Homemade Chicken Stock
- Put all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Bring it to a boil over high heat, and then immediately turn down the heat to medium low. Cover the lid, and let simmer for 4 to 6 hours—the longer the better.
- Once the stock is cooled, strain the broth into individual containers and store them in the freezer for future use.