Making chicken stock is great for beginners, because it’s pretty straightforward: place chicken in a pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, cover pot with lid, reduce to a low boil, cook until done. Remove chicken. Store or use stock. It’s a key ingredient for my Green Sauce, a traditional Mexican sauce made with tomatillos and Serrano peppers in a chicken stock base.Jump to Recipe
Dear, Sweet Husband
My husband is thrilled when I make something hot and spicy. He cannot get enough of it. Over the years I’ve seen him ingest a lot of hot and spicy foods, and only twice have I seen him overdo and ask for milk or yogurt: when he chose the “legal disclaimer” heat level at a chicken wing place because “the one below it was not hot enough last time” and when he accidentally put a little too much ghost pepper sauce on a sandwich.
He was really excited to try out the Mexican green sauce. But when he saw me at the stove, getting ready to drop chicken breasts into the stock pot, he couldn’t believe it! “Please tell me you aren’t going to do that to the chicken. It will be so tough. I’ll bake it that way that always turns out so tender and juicy.”
Well, baking chicken isn’t going to make chicken stock, now is it? So I explained to him my history with boiling chicken and how he didn’t have to worry about this. Really.
Long before I met him—back when MTV was an edgy new channel that played music videos 24/7, cell phones were the size of bricks (and there was no such thing as texting or internet), and thong workout leotards were all the rage—I spent a year or so eliminating as much salt and fat as possible from my diet. One way to do that was to boil boneless chicken breasts or strips in water infused only with herbs. They were tender and juicy. Every. Single. Time.
My husband was still uncertain about the outcome, but he removed his objection to boiling chicken. In the end, he was astonished at how tender and juicy the chicken turned out, and he now looks forward to chicken stock day…mostly because it means green sauce day is near. If you read my previous post on Mexican green sauce, then you know he brings home ingredients for the sauce if I take too long to make a new batch. He brings home chicken breasts, too.
After I make the stock using bone-in breasts, I sometimes throw in some boneless chicken breasts or strips and cook them. It’s a great way to batch cook ingredients for recipes. In a pinch, I’ve also used one bone-in and one boneless breast for the stock, and it turns out fine.
About Chicken Stock
If you need to reduce fat, you can refrigerate the stock overnight and skim off the fat the next day. You could probably pop it into the freezer a bit to do the same thing faster if needed.
I use this stock in soups, sauces and chili. The stock lasts about five days in the refrigerator, so if you are not going to use it within that time frame, freeze it. Not only is it a waste to let it go bad, spoiled chicken stock is an offense to the senses. You do not want to smell that while pouring it down the drain.
Although the chicken is a means to make the stock, I will share that it shreds well and offers many possibilities. We like it in Mexican foods paired with green sauce, like chicken enchiladas. I also smother it in barbecue sauce, shred and chop it for use in soups and chilis, use it in pasta dishes, and make a decent chicken salad of it. I’ll share some of these recipes in future posts.
- stock pot
- 2 chicken breasts bone-in
- 12 C water
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp pepper
- Place the chicken breasts in a stock pot and fill with water until breasts are fully covered, about 12 cups. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium-low heat and cover the pot. Maintain a low boil for about 15 minutes.
- Remove from burner and leave covered for about 10 minutes.
- Remove breasts and store separately from stock.
Serving SuggestionsThis is an excellent base for soups, sauces, stuffing, and chilis featuring poultry.
TipYou can use boneless chicken, but it cooks faster than bone-in and should be done after about 10 minutes of low boil.
Chicken breasts are not included in the nutritional values because they are not kept in the stock. They will add limited natural fat to the stock.