Kitchen Magic

I shudder to think of chickens gone by, good meals bridled and Thanksgiving turkeys passed over, all because of pure kitchen negligence. Why, for years, did I not make my own stocks? Especially when I found myself with a 20 lb turkey carcass or remnant bones from a roast chicken. I’ve stared into the deep, dark recesses of my mind (found a few cobwebs along the way) searching for a precise, logical answer. Even after running through the standard excuses of time, ignorance and exhaustion I still can’t string together a sentence that justifies this careless behavior. So…I’ve decided that I will have to go with indifference.  As painful as it is to acknowledge….that must be it. For the record, I don’t know who this woman is, so I am trying to understand her from afar and interpret her bad behavior. “She” simply must have thought there was no benefit to this extra step.

“Step” being a MAMMOTH exaggeration.  Making stock doesn’t really count as cooking…it’s more like magic. You don’t do anything except throw some things in big pot, cover them with water, wait a few hours and you are rewarded with a rich, deeply flavored potion (I mean broth) that is practically a meal on its own. It will elevate every dish you prepare, from soup to risotto, gravy, braised greens- anything you use chicken stock for. Think of it as fairy dust. I promise that whoever you are, whatever your skill in the kitchen, your personal culinary rating will shoot up a few stars if you make your own stock.

Before your very eyes the water will turn from clear to a beautiful golden brown….kitchen magic. Without fail, we stand over a fresh batch, spoons in hand, slurping it up while nodding our heads in agreement and rolling our eyes as if to proclaim “we believe” “we believe”!!!

A few crucial tips:

  1. Don’t be tempted to use the shriveled up carrots stashed in the back of the crisper. If your ingredients aren’t fresh enough to eat, they won’t make a good stock. There will be no magic happenin’ in your kitchen.
  2. Use as little water as possible. The goal is to concentrate flavors.
  3. Simmer. Never boil. Boiling will mix the fat, protiens and impurities into the stock and compromise its clarity.
  4. Skim. When bringing the water to a simmer you will probably notice a foam (less with a rotisserie chicken). Its protein and impurities. Skim it off for a clear stock.
  5. Don’t stir. Once you reach a simmer resist the urge to move things around in the pot; doing so will make your stock cloudy.
  6. The more (and stronger) aromatics (vegetables and herbs) you use the less “chickeny” your stock will taste. Save the rosemary for your polenta!

Rotisserie Chicken Stock

Lucky for us, most groceries offer fresh rotisserie chickens. The slow bake roasts the bones, concentrating their flavors and creating the perfect foil for a rich homemade chicken stock that comes together in half the time as a normal stock.


  • 1 rotisserie chicken carcass, whole
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 1” chunks
  • 2 celery stalks chopped into 1” chunks
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 head of garlic, a few outer layers removed and cut in half
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 parsley sprigs
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 1 TBSP kosher salt
  • 1 tsp peppercorns


  1. Place all the ingredients in a large stock pot (5-6 quart).
  2. Add just enough filtered water to cover the carcass (1-2” above the bones).
  3. Bring to a simmer, skimming off any foam that forms.
  4. Maintain a low, gentle simmer for 2 hours. Do not stir.
  5. Strain the stock through a colander and discard the solids.
  6. Cool and refrigerate the stock overnight.
  7. Skim off any fat that has solidified.
  8. Use within 3 days or freeze for 3 months.



  1. Summer Broth says:

    […] heard me. I didn’t think it could get any easier to make this kitchen essential at home, I mean rotisserie chicken stock practically makes itself. But it’s true.  I recently came across a Cooks Illustrated recipe about […]

  2. Stock Up says:

    […] how much time you have, what flavor you want and sometimes just the type of mood you are in. Take rotisserie chicken stock, its fast (you’re in and out in two hours), delivers a rich, meaty brown stock and because only […]

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