One of the reasons we love roast chicken, other than the fact that it’s the only recipe by Thomas Keller that we can execute from memory, is the leftover situation.
Roasting chicken for Sunday supper often means that leftovers can be made into quick meals during the rest of the hectic week: diced for chicken salad sandwiches, shredded for tacos, or thrown into pasta. Of course, we also find ourselves late at night just lifting up a corner of the plastic wrap from the serving tray in the fridge, yanking a few choice pieces of chicken right from the carcass, and eating them right there in front of the refrigerator, door propped open with our hip.
If there is leftover chicken, that is.
There may or may not not be any chicken left after a roast chicken dinner, but there is always a chicken carcass. We can’t imagine a time in our cooking consciousness that we threw a chicken carcass away before simmering it down into a delicious, deeply golden and flavorful roast chicken stock. For those of us in freezing, snow-y areas, while making chicken stock itself is a satisfying activity, it’s especially appropriate right now to use for all those warm, cozy, comforting soups and stews.
Recipes for chicken stock are about the same across the board: throw a chicken carcass into a pot with cold water, vegetables and herbs, then simmer very slowly for a few hours. Variations, usually, very slight, come in the form of the herbs. Our recipe below is an adaptation of a recipe we got from Comme Ça, a French brasserie near our TasteSpotting Kitchen in LA. Their roast chicken dish for two is so large that there are always inevitably leftovers to take home, which the restaurant packs up along with a mire poix, bouquet garni, and a copy of instructions to make chicken stock. We changed “mire poix” to whole vegetables and added garlic to our version.
With homemade chicken stock on hand, you can try out a few of our favorite soup and stew recipes from TasteSpotting that use chicken stock.
1 large pot, preferably taller than it is wide
1 large 2-gallon clean container
1 strainer, lined with cheesecloth (or a coffee filter)
1 whole roast chicken carcass
2 gallons cold water
1 teaspoon salt
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 stalk celery, washed and cut into 3-4 pieces
1 large carrot, washed and cut into 3-4 pieces
4-5 garlic cloves, lightly smashed with side of knife (optional)
a few sprigs each of parsley, thyme, and bay leaves
Rinse chicken carcass with cold running water. Place inside pot and add enough water to cover carcass by about 2 inches. Add salt.
Place on medium high heat and bring to just under a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 1½ hours. Add onions, celery, carrot and herbs. Simmer for an additional 1 hour.
Turn off heat, remove carcass, vegetables and herbs from pot (using tongs). Technically, you should discard this, but I feel so guilty wasting all that so I just eat it all. Right there. Over the stove.
Pass stock through a sieve lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter placed over a large storage container to remove all the “bits.” Store stock in refrigerator.
Stock can also be kept frozen up to 2 weeks.