Saturday, April 18, 2009

Chicken Stock Tutorial

Chicken stock is a basic in pretty much every kitchen, and homemade is always the best.
Follow these simple steps to make your own.

bones of 1 or 2 chickens
8 - 16 c. water
1 medium onion
2 medium carrots
2 stalks celery
15 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf


Clean bones of as much fat as you can. Place in bottom of large stock pot and cover with water. Heat on high until mixture doesn't quite come to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for one hour and 15 min. Try not to let the mixture boil. Fat from the chicken will rise to the surface and you can skim it off as you go.

While you are waiting, prepare the veggies. Quarter the onion and cut the celery and carrot into large pieces. The vegetables will simmer with the broth for a long time, so don't make the pieces too small.

After the stock has simmered for an hour and 15 min., Add in veggies, peppercorns and bay leaf. Let the stock and veggies simmer for 45 minutes more. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. Strain mixture through a fine mesh strainer.

At this point your stock is ready to use, but you can also put it in the refrigerator and skim off any additional fat that rises to the top as it congeals.

A few tips:

* If you don't buy bone-in chicken very often (I don't really ever...), get a rotisserie chicken from the store. Strip the meat and you can use it for salads or soups. Save the bones for making stock.

*You can use the skin of the rotisserie chicken, too. And don't chuck the wings, just toss them in skin and all.

*Bones can be saved in the freezer until you are ready/have enough to make stock.

* Adding a few whole cloves to the stock lends a richer, more complex flavor. (It won't make your stock taste like spice cake, I promise.)

* To store stock for a long while, freeze it in ice cube trays. When you need some stock, or want to add some extra flavor to a dish, just pop one out! (Though I would recommend freezing them in the trays and then transferring to a ziplock bag to avoid freezer burn.)

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