01 November, 2012

Easy Chicken Stock

Non-cookers think homemade chicken stock is the most amazing thing.  They think it takes, I don't know, weeks to make! And you have to be some professional chef or something...

Let's put this to rest right now.  

It's so easy.  All you need is time.  

So do yourself a favor on a rainy or lazy day.  Make some chicken stock.  Then freeze some in an ice cube tray.  Freeze some more in larger containers for larger meals, like soups, stews.  

But what do I DO with all this chicken stock?

2. Cook your veggies (like peas, asparagus, brussel sprouts) in chicken stock for added flavor.  I  add some oil to a pan, saute veggie for a few minutes, add 3 or 4 chicken stock ice cubes to pan, and let cook until tender.

3. When cooking rice, couscous, quinoa, etc, you can use chicken stock in place of water.  

4. Use to make sauces, like marinara or alfredo.

5. Use in mashed potatoes as a partial replacement for butter and cream.

Easy Chicken Stock

You will need:

4-5 lbs chicken parts and bones, including necks and backs, or a whole cut up chicken
                                                  (I used carcass from Ancho Rubbed Roast Chicken)
2 onions, chopped
5 celery ribs, chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
5 whole cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1 tsp black peppercorns, cracked (use bottom of a pan to gently crack them)
2 bay leaf
10 springs parsley
10 sprigs thyme
2 gallons cold water

1. In a large skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium high heat.  Brown chicken pieces in skillet.  Once slightly browned (about 20 minutes) put everything in a large (12 quart) stockpot.  Water should cover chicken and veggies.

2. Cook over high heat until you see bubbles reaching the surface, but not boiling.

3. Reduce heat to medium low, and let the stock gently simmer, uncovered, for 4-6 hours. Every half hour or so, skim the scum off the top of the stock.  Use a skimmer.  In desperate situations I have also used a small cheese grater (with the smallest holes).  
Skim that scum!

4. Stock needs to be cooled immediately when done.  Fill your sink with 
cold water and dump an ice cube tray (or two) in.  Put a empty, clean stockpot in the ice water. 

5. Strain through a fine mesh strainer or any strainer lined with a cheesecloth into the empty, clean stockpot in the sink.  

6. Let cool, and then refrigerate to cool completely. Use in the next 2-3 days, or freeze for 3 months.  

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