Thicken Homemade Chicken Stock With One Pantry Staple

Just cooked up a rotisserie chicken for the family and are wondering what to do with the carcass left behind? Don't toss the leftovers from your feast; instead, throw the bones and scraps of meat into a pot of water and turn them into chicken stock. The key to a good stock is to let it cook for at least six to eight hours, allowing the collagen and marrow of the bones, along with the veggies, to fully infuse into the liquid. But if you want to ensure a thick and rich result every time, you'll also want to add a dash of vinegar. Since you most likely already have some in your cupboard, it's an easy addition that will seriously elevate your stock recipe.

It may sound surprising, but the pantry staple is the secret to a particularly delicious — and nutritious — stock and it's all thanks to its acid content. In addition to boiling the bones, a dash of acid will help break them down even further, getting all that cartilage and connective tissue to dissolve, forming a thicker and more gelatinous stock. That also means that more of the vitamins, minerals, and healthy amino acids from the bones get extracted into the liquid, so you'll have a dish that's both dense in flavor and filled with nutrients.

How vinegar works to upgrade stock

You can also make stock from the leftovers of beef, pork, and fish. All you really need are the bones (the core ingredient that separates stock from broth) and some vegetables and herbs for added flavor. Any source of acid will do to help thicken your dish, including white wine or lemon juice, but your best bet is to use white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar since they're milder in flavor and won't affect the savory taste of the stock. Just add a tablespoon or two to your simmering concoction and the acid will get to work enhancing your dish.

Not only is it a great option to avoid food waste, but stock (chicken or otherwise) is also an ingredient you should always have on hand thanks to its many uses in the kitchen. Whether you're looking for a little extra flavor for your pasta or rice, are seeking a base for your sauce, or need something to braise your meat in, it can usually come to the rescue. We suggest taking a page from none other than Ina Garten by keeping some stock in your freezer for whenever you need it (and trust us, it'll be more often than you think).