Make It Monday: Chicken Stock
Bone broth is all the rage these days. Maybe over-hyped, but not wrong-headed. Real stock, be it beef, chicken or veggie, will make a profound difference in any dish that calls for liquid as an ingredient. And Chicken Stock is the king. It is liquid gold.
Having some chicken stock on hand when you need it is comforting. And, yes, you can buy chicken broth at the grocery store - but it pales when compared with the real thing made at home. And it is dead simple to do...
All you need to make chicken stock is some chicken parts with bones, some aromatics, a stock pot, water, and some time.
The chicken parts for the stock are usually pieces of the bird that you don't normally eat: backs, necks, wing tips, feet, etc. You can go to your butcher and get some of these part cheaply or, even better, just save them up over time from your chicken dishes.
I regularly roast a whole chicken and put the carcass in the freezer for later use in making stock. I also buy whole chickens, cut them up myself, and put the backs and wing tips in the freezer for making stock. You would be surprised on how quickly you build up enough to make a fresh pot of stock.
No matter how you acquire your chicken parts, the making of the stock is wonderful simple and deeply satisfying.
Homemade Chicken Stock
- 3-4 pounds of chicken parts (backs, necks, wings, carcasses, gizzards, etc.)
- 3-4 carrots, broken into quarters
- 3-4 celery stalks, broken into quarters
- 1 large onion, quartered (you can leave the skin on)
- 8-10 whole black peppercorns
- 8-10 sprigs of parsley
1. Put all the ingredients in a stock pot. Cover with water by an inch or two. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
NOTE: You do not want your stock to get to a heavy boil. Keeping the stock from boiling will result in a clear broth, which is what you are after.
2. Once the stock reaches a simmer turn the heat down to a setting the results in the smallest bubbles. Skim the scum from the stock with a strainer or a spoon.
3. Simmer the stock gently for 6-8 hours.
4. Strain the stock through a fine colander. Divide into storage containers and cool. Put the lids on the containers and, if you are not using this in the next few days, freeze for later use.
NOTE: There is much written about the "danger zone" of cooling hot foods slowly as a feeding ground for bacteria. If you want to avoid this you should place your containers in a bed of ice to cool more quickly. A picnic cooler is perfect for this job.
You now have a couple of quarts of culinary liquid gold. Great as a base for soups, stews and rice dishes. Smile when you use it.