Brodo di Pollo – Chicken Stock
How to make chicken stock.
The first in the series – Kitchen Basics
Inquiring minds want to know. My, but after my post on Zuppa di cavolo nero I received so many inquiries about how to make brodo di pollo (chicken stock) that I decided this light chicken broth merits a web address all its own. Brodo di pollo is easy to make and far superior to canned or boxed products. Commercial products often have a bitter or metallic off taste. With homemade brodo the pure clean taste of the chicken and the fragrant vegetables come through and make a magnificent base for any dish. Be sure to use fresh chicken. Don’t switch out any of the vegetables. Use leeks here, not onions. While I use onions for brodo di carne, leeks impart gentle onion undertones in brodo di pollo. And don’t neglect the Italian parsley, it adds a wonderful fresh “green” note.
Making brodo requires a few hours of your time and some patience. There are three keys to clear and pure tasting brodo. The first is fresh ingredients.
The second is diligent skimming of all the scum and foam which, if left behind, will impart a bitter taste and opacity to the brodo. I recommend using a long handled steel mesh skimmer. It makes this job a breeze. Skimmers are available at kitchenware shops and Amazon.
The third key is twofold – you must remove as much of the surface fat as possible while keeping the stockpot well off the boil. Removing the fat is best done with a metal spoon. If you allow the fat to remain and the pot stays at a rolling boil, the fat will emulsify in the brodo, and it will taste greasy. Keep the stockpot at a lazy simmer and skim frequently to achieve pure chicken flavor with not a hint of bitterness or grease.
Brodo di Pollo – Chicken Stock
1 chicken, about 4 1/2 to 5 pounds, cut up, visible pieces of fat removed and discarded
2 leeks, rinsed, dark green leaves discarded, white part cut into 1 inch slices
2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1 inch chunks
2 ribs of celery, leaves attached, cut in 1 inch chunks
8 sprigs of Italian parsley
10 black peppercorns
about 2 quarts filtered water, or enough to cover the chicken and aromatics
Place chicken in 8 quart stockpot, and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Place over high heat, and bring to boil, skimming very frequently to remove foam and scum. Once pot has reached a boil, reduce heat to medium low, adjusting heat to maintain a very lazy simmer. Continue skimming until no more foam or scum rises. Add 1 cup very cold water to encourage the last of the scum to rise to top. Skim.
Once there is no more scum, add aromatics (vegetables, parsley and peppercorns.) Adjust heat to maintain a lazy simmer. With stockpot partially covered, continue cooking about 2 hours more, checking often to be certain vegetables are submerged and using a metal spoon remove any fat, foam or scum that rises to the surface. Check color of brodo at 2 hours; it should be a light yellow. If you want it a bit darker, let it cook thirty minutes longer. Remove from heat. Strain stock through dampened cheesecloth or very fine sieve into glass container. Let brodo drain off meat and vegetables. Do not press; that will cloud the brodo. Discard bones and vegetables, reserving meat for another purpose.
The brodo is now ready to use, however I prefer to refrigerate it overnight. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top and form a solid layer easily removed using a metal spoon. These last steps, refrigerating the brodo and then removing the last bit of fat, contribute to a clean. clear brodo. Store, well covered, in refrigerator 2 days or freeze 6 months.
I have no affiliation with any product, manufacturer, or site mentioned in this article.