No matter what form your chicken soup takes, the foundation of one that has you coming back for seconds is always a rich and lip-smackingly soulful stock. And a smart way to make your own is from chicken bones. Yes, already cooked chicken bones, the ones you usually trash before doing the dishes. They could be from a chicken roasted for Sunday supper, from a rotisserie chicken or the picked-clean bones from fried chicken takeout. The key to pulling out as much flavor as possible is to slowly simmer the boned-up stock for a good long time--an hour is a must, two to three hours not unheard of. To store for later: Divide among a few zipper-lock freezer bags, seal three-quarters closed and then carefully push any extra air out before sealing completely. Freeze flat on a baking sheet and stockpile in a nice, tidy stack.
Chicken Bone Stock
Recipe developed by the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 2½ quarts
Cook Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes (plus 30 minutes to cool)
2 tablespoons grapeseed or canola oil
2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, peeled and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon kosher salt, divided
4 parsley stems
2 garlic cloves, peeled
¼ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
12 cups water
One cooked chicken carcass--including any skin, fat and meat shards
1. In a large soup pot set over medium-high heat, add the oil, onions, carrots, celery and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables become very soft and start to brown and stick to the bottom of the pan, about 20 minutes.
2. Stir in the parsley stems, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt and the pepper and cook until the garlic is fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the water and chicken carcass along with any skin, fat and leftover meat shards, increase the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until the stock is full-flavored and rich, 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes (or up to 3 hours for a super concentrated, rich stock). Turn off the heat and cool for 30 minutes before straining through a fine-mesh sieve into an airtight container. Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days.