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Master the Technique

These are the best steps for a comforting soup that always tastes like home.

Fill the Pot.
Rinse chicken with cold water and place in a large saucepan or stockpot. Add water and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and other vegetables you have on hand. Reduce heat to low and simmer. For a clearer stock, use a ladle to skim the foam that rises to the surface.
Add Herbs & Spices.
Place herbs – always include parsley, thyme, black peppercorns and bay leaves – and other spices you like in a cheesecloth pouch. Tie with kitchen twine, leaving one end of string long enough to tie to handle of saucepan. Stir in salt. Simmer stock, uncovered, with spice bundle immersed, for 3 hours, occasionally skimming the top.
Strain the Stock.
Use a slotted spoon to remove chicken, vegetables and spice bundle to a fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl. Pour stock through and allow to drain; don’t press down on the solids, as this can make the broth cloudy.
Remove the Fat.
If using right away, skim fat with a ladle or dip a paper towel onto the surface to absorb it and then discard. To remove fat from cold stock, place bowl of strained stock in a larger container filled with ice water. Stir to help release heat, and then refrigerate. Remove hardened layer of fat with a spoon or spatula. Otherwise, stock can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.


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