Thursday, September 25, 2008

Chicken Stock

One of the wonderful bonuses of roasting a whole chicken (besides having chicken for a week-- for tacos, sandwiches, pasta, etc) is making your own stock! I admit to using canned stock for cooking, but if you're making something where stock will be one of the prominent flavors (like soup or a simple braise/stew), making your own is totally worth it. Also, it's incredibly easy-- throw everything in a pot, cover with water, and simmer away for a few hours. This recipe starts with some raw chicken parts, since I had the neck, backbone, and innards left over too. If you're just using cooked bones, skip the first step.

You'll need:
chicken bones (from one chicken)
an onion
a few carrots
something else, if you'd like-- I used fennel. celery is also good.
salt & pepper

Fry the raw parts (neck, backbone because you took it out when you butterflied your chicken, gizzards, heart) in their own fat over medium heat. Leave out the liver-- it makes a delicious cook's treat, but it will make your stock bitter. When the parts are golden brown, add a peeled and quartered onion. 

When the onion turns color, add other veggies and whatever spices you want in addition to the salt & pepper. Add cooked chicken bones with whatever bits of meat are left on. Saute it all a bit, then cover with water (I used about 4 quarts of water-- just fill your pot).

Cover to help the water come to a boil, but as soon as it does, turn it down to a simmer. Skim the scum that rises to the top occasionally. Simmer uncovered for at least 4 hours. You can cook it all day if you want, but add water if the level gets too low.

Strain and reduce further for easy storage, if you want. Freeze in small portions and use whenever you need stock! When storing in the fridge, be sure to leave the fat layer on to protect the stock from bacteria in the air. Just lift it up and take what you need from underneath; if you disturb the layer, simmer gently and then return to the fridge, and a new one will form. Stock will keep in the fridge indefinitely if you boil it for 5 minutes every 5 days to get rid of bacteria.

**NOTE: This is a simple short cut way of making stock. If you're serious about your stock, this is the best advice I've seen around:


gaga said...

I definitely agree that making your own stock is totally worth it. I didn't know that you can keep it indefinitely by boiling it every 5 days! Thanks for the tip.

purplecook said...

I learned it from a great book called Cooking by James Peterson-- it's very convenient!

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