Chicken soup is one of the most comforting and nourishing dishes when you feel sick, plus a good chicken stock is the base of many wonderful soups and dishes. This classic recipe is rich... enough to stand on its own as a broth but also adds deep flavor to stews and risottos. If there are giblets, set aside the liver but use the neck, heart, and gizzards in the stock. You can add vegetables like leeks or turnips to the pot for extra taste. You can also make a lighter stock using our recipe for Poultry Bone Stock.
Pull out any fat from the inside of the chicken's body cavity and throw it away. Put the whole chicken into a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil until a film starts to form. Discard the water.
Stick the cloves in the onions. Cut the carrots in half, then into quarters lengthwise.
Put the onions, carrots, and celery into the pot with the drained chicken. Add the bay leaves, peppercorns, and parsley sprigs. Cover with 6 quarts of cold water and bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low and add 1 tablespoon sea salt. Simmer partially covered for 1½ to 2 hours, or until the chicken meat falls from the bone.
Pull the meat from the bones, then drain the stock through a fine sieve into a clean pot. Bring to a boil and reduce by about a quarter. Adjust the stock for salt, then strain again. Store in the fridge and use within 3 days, or store in the freezer (see Chef Tips).
Stock can be frozen in small quantities for easy use. Pour the stock into quart-size re-sealable plastic freezer bags, 2 cups at a time, and freeze flat in your freezer compartment. Once frozen, they won’t take up much room in the freezer, and you can easily break off a piece of stock if you need to use a little in a sauce or stew. You can also fill an ice tray and make frozen stock cubes.
You can keep chicken stock for around 3 months in the freezer. When freezing all foods, always mark the bag with the date frozen, the amount, and what it is. It’s hard to remember unless you do.