chicken stock

A leisurely day of stockmaking

As much as Korean food has its emphasis on the communal experience, a single or a couple would find it difficult to justify buying a whole chicken for daily Korean home meals.  I had usually picked up different parts depending on what I wanted to cook, but at one point, it dawned on me that I could make a great use of a whole chicken all for myself (now for my sister as well, who is my new roommate).

So I figured I’d help out other singletons and the likes who like cooking and chicken and guide the way to plan out a few things to make the most use out of a whole chicken for themselves.  It is, of course, more economical to buy a whole chicken, so I feel justified to buy a better chicken as well.  This will be a 5-part series (more or less, depending on how things go between this post and the coming ones) that utilizes a whole chicken to make Korean chicken dishes or Korean-inspired dishes.

The day I decide to break down a chicken is the organization day to set up bases for the dishes I’ll be making in the coming days.  Of course I don’t have to know exactly what I’m going to make, so the preparation below tends to have many uses overall.  The whole process starts with preparing to make chicken stock.

First, when you cut a whole chicken, just cut off the thighs, legs, and wings, put in a plastic bag and store in the freezer.  If you find a giblet bag (heart, liver, gizzard, kidneys, and neck) in the cavity, keep everything in the refrigerator except the neck (you can use the neck to make chicken stock). Rinse the chicken with cold water.

Chicken Stock


1 Chicken (about 4 lbs), rinsed and legs and wings removed

1 Onion, medium, peeled and sliced

1 Bay Leaf

1 tps. Black Peppercorns, whole

2 Tbsp. Ginger, fresh, peeled and sliced

8 cloves Garlic, peeled

3 stems of Celery, rinsed and sliced

4 quarts (16 cups) Water

Adjust your vegetable ingredients based on what you have in the fridge – carrots and leeks are other common ingredients for stocks.  Put all ingredients in a pot and bring up to a boil then simmer for about 40 minutes until the meat is thoroughly cooked.  Remove from heat and remove the chicken from the pot.

Once the chicken body becomes manageable with hands, discard the skin.  Take off the meat and shred them with your hands with gloves on.  Set aside about 1/2 cup of the meat.  Cool down the rest of the meat completely then freeze in 2 plastic bags.

Put the chicken bones back in the pot and simmer for at least another hour (do you want more of thinner stock or less of thicker stock?).  Skim the top off for fat and other impurities.  Remove from heat and strain the bones and vegetables.  Set aside 4 cups of stock.  Cool down the rest of the chicken stock and skim off the fat as necessary.  Pour some stock in an ice cube tray and freeze. Freeze the rest in containers, each with about 4 cups.  You will get about 2-3 containers.

Frozen Chicken Stock

Credit: Merelymel13 on Flickr

Posted by shinshine

By the time you are done with making chicken stock, you should have the following:

  • 1/2 cup of shredded meat and 4 cups of chicken stock set aside to make dak kalguksu (닭칼국수; chicken noodle soup)
  • chicken giblets in the refrigerator
  • a bag of thighs, legs and wings in the freezer
  • 2 bags of cooked, shredded (mostly breast) meat in the freezer
  • an ice cube tray with chicken stock in the freezer, and
  • 2-3 containers of chicken stock in the freezer

Come back tomorrow to finish cooking dak kalguksu, a Korean version of chicken noodle soup!


chicken     닭     (dak)

stock         육수  (yuk su)

meat         고기   (go gi)

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