3 to 4 pounds chicken pieces (all chicken thighs work great)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
1 large onion, quartered
2 to 3 large garlic cloves, cut in half crosswise
1 to 2 large carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces
1 to 2 celery stalks (ribs only), cut in 2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 bay leaf (optional)
1. Rinse chicken pieces, pat dry with paper towels, and season on both sides with salt and pepper. In a stockpot or Dutch oven, heat butter or oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken pieces in several batches; brown on both sides. Remove chicken and drain off all but 2 tablespoons of fat. Return chicken to pot, along with 2 1/2 quarts water, onion, carrots, celery, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaf (if using). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
2. Remove chicken; pour stock into a large bowl through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth-lined colander. Season to taste with more salt and pepper as desired. Refrigerate—or allow to cool and then freeze—until ready to use. Skin chicken and cut into bite-size pieces. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
Makes 5 to 6 cups chicken and about 2 quarts stock.
This is an extra recipe for an article originally published in our June 2011 issue.