Chicken stock and the chicken that made it

I usually make chicken stock by using the carcass from a roasted bird and whatever remaining scraps of meat are leftover. This time around I’m using a whole raw chicken. I usually simmer my stock for 4-6 hours. Will the meat on the bird become inedible after this length and need to be discarded? I hate to waste. Should I remove most of the meat after say an hour and pull it from the bones then put the bones back in to simmer and reserve the poached meat?

I use Jacques Pepin’s method found in Julia & jacques Cook at Home. He starts the whole chicken in cold water with aromatics. He removes the whole chicken after about an hour, just when it is cooked. My change to his method is, I then remove the meat as soon as it is cool enough, and then put the bones back into the stock and let it simmer for longer. If you simmer your chicken for 4-6 hours the chicken will be inedible.

I searched for his recipe on the web, and didn’t find it. Hold on… this is pretty close. Just omit the mushrooms.

Yes, remove at least the breasts, but legs too if you want. Put the skin back in with the stock and continue simmering. You’ll get less intense stock if you do this, but the meat will be tastier. You can eat the meat if you leave it in the whole time, but it will have very little flavor.

By the way of a general principle: if you want the flavor to stay in the meat, start with hot water/liquid. If you want the flavor in the broth, start with cold.

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Thanks! I pulled the chicken out just in time. I think it was in for about 2 hours. It’s almost too far gone but I’ll be able to make some use of it. Bones went back in along with some of the meat.

I usually make chicken salad or enchiladas with stock chicken… something that adds flavor to make up fir the bland chicken.


In this case you had a whole chicken you wanted to use so this might not be relevant. but I usually accumulate backs, wing tips, necks in freezer till I have need of stock. Sometimes augmented with store bought extra backs or wings. I then follow basic seasoning rules AND use pressure cooker. It extracts flavor better than any other method I know.

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sometimes I clean the freezer out and end up making stock because I have all these little bags of assorted bits and pieces!

My best stock is in the crockpot – with the benefit that you can set it to run overnight, or while you’re at work – no babysitting!

Very early on, I also used the whole carcass – regular chicken.

Now, I often use whole old hens. They are flavorful for stock, but their meat is considered to be too tough. They are old hens which can no longer lay eggs. If you can find and use old hens, then I will say they are the least wasteful route in making chicken stock.

Of course, they are inexpensive too. An whole old hen usually will cost you less than $2 (since most people do not want to eat their meat).


Have you ever tried the meat?

The meat of a hen is stringy but if you don’t simmer it forever it, it is perfectly good-tasting. Use it where it will be chopped up, as in chicken salad or croquettes. Coq au vin was created as a way to use a rooster, also not anyone’s idea of an ideal chicken. Braising works for old hens, too.

Man, that is a great photo. I have never seen a bird actually labeled as Old Chicken. The chickens I use for this purpose I get usually in the spanish section of the market or in spanish markets - usually they’re two small hens to a package and labeled Gallinas para Sopa - I believe these gallinas are superannuated laying hens also, and they are cheap like that as well.

I bet they are the same things. Hens which can no longer lay eggs – they started to cost more than they worth.

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I have bags of chicken bones from breaking down chickens in the freezer. I usually remove the leg thigh quarters and the wings then bone out the rest. Sometimes I debone the whole bird. As a result I have lots of chicken bones with some scrap meat ready for the pressure cooker

I remember posting a while back on ch about .This old bird is taking her sweet time . It was a old bird given to me from a farmer . It took about eight hours simmering in the pot , and it was damn good .

They are. I believe the official name for seeling them in Canada is “mature chickens” - what a polite euphemism!

And of course you can eat the meat if you don’t cook it for too long. An ideal use is in - chicken soup!

:slight_smile: Polite in one way and impolite in another way because now they imply the younger chicken are immature.

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo