Monday, September 26, 2011

Make Your Own Chicken Stock



Mmmmm fresh chicken stock is such a treat. I usually use those chicken broth cubes, but it is nothing compared to homemade stock. Considering how long this takes it's really not that labor intensive after the first hour. This can be the base for so many things like soups or risotto. It can be frozen and chucked into the freezer until you need it. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken carcasses
  • 1 onion - quartered
  • 2 to 3 large carrots - chopped in thirds
  • 3 celery stalks - chopped in thirds 
  • 3 whole garlic cloves - unpeeled
  • Seasonings - I used salt, pepper, and basil and added them to taste.
  • A large pot
  • A bunch of water
  • 6 to 8 hours of free time
Put everything into a pot. I used an 8 quart pot (my new one!).


Add a lot of water. You will be adding water as you go, so don't worry too much about measuring the initial water. Just make sure to fill it up so everything is submerged. This can be difficult because everything floats in the beginning, but just use your judgement.



It already looks tasty, but it has a while to go. Turn on the heat as high as it can go until it starts to boil (which takes a while) and then turn it down to a tiny simmer. You will see the water on top start to get foamy. This is the fat and impurities coming to the surface. For the first hour you are going to be skimming these fats off about every 15 minutes. 




Use a shallow spoon and bit by bit take out the scum. In the words of Dory (from Finding Nemo) "Just keep skimming, just keep skimming, just keep skimming, skimming, skimming."


After an hour there should be less scum to skim and then your only job is to make sure the water is still submerging all the ingredients. Eventually the onion and garlic dissolve and a lot of the chicken melts away into the broth. The carrot softens and the celery gets really dark. The broth tastes like water in the beginning (obviously) and then starts to taste really flavorful after about 4ish hours.



After 6 to 8 hours you are done! If you have a thin strainer use that to separate the broth from the bits. I do not so I used a pasta strainer over a big bowl. It worked except for some fat bits. I let it cool and then skimmed those bits off the top. 




The food left in the pot is really gross. You can try it, but all the flavors are now in your broth so just chuck it. You should have about 5 quarts of stock. You can freeze it as one large patch or in smaller individual containers so you do not have to thaw the whole thing for a cup of stock. Enjoy!

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