Friday, November 9, 2012

How to make: Chicken Stock

Hey, what’s up guys?  Getting tired of this cold weather yet?  EEK, it’s only November!  Apparently it’s been snowing on the East Coast with some crazy Nor’Easter, which makes me pretty happy I’m in Chicago right now.  Except last winter was so mild and not snowy at all, I’m half expecting us to get like THREE snowmageddon’s this year.  Anyone else remember 2010?  I sure do!  Behold:


Apparently it’s getting up to 70 degrees or something this weekend, but LET’S PRETEND it’s not OK?  Because that would totally make this post slightly irrelevant.  (NEVER!)

Anyhoo, so let’s get to the topic of the day, shall we? STOCK.  Stock is such an important ingredient in so many recipes, it’s almost imperative for home cooks to know how to make their own.  And you’ll soon find out, it’s SOOO easy!!  Now, there are many different kinds of stock: Veggie, Chicken, Beef, Pork, Fish, etc.  Basically, it’s either vegetarian or whatever meat you happen to be cooking with.  I’ve really only made chicken stock, though, just because.  OK?  Now let’s get to it.

So you saved that glorious chicken carcass from a couple days ago, haven’t you?  Me, I haven’t completely eaten the entire thing, so I went ahead and took all the rest of the meat off the bones so I could use it in ANOTHER recipe.  “OMG LAURIE”, you say to yourself, “We are going to make MORE food from this chicken?”  And I will say, “Yes, dear reader, we are, because this is the week of the chicken.  Time to get excited!”

Gather your ingredients:

Chicken Stock
1 Chicken carcass or chicken bones
1-2 Carrots
1-2 celery stalks with the leafy parts attached
1/2 onion
1-2 cloves of garlic, whole
Whole peppercorns
Fresh or dried Thyme
1-2 Bay Leaves

So here is all the extra meat I was able to pull off the chicken:

Doesn't look like a lot, but TRUST ME, it's a lot!  Now put all the bones and the giblets (if you kept them) in a large pot.  Want to see it?  Don't be skittish, it's just chicken bones!  Here it is:

Next, add some water.  I guess I'm gonna go ahead and say something like six cups?  Or I just pour water in until it's roughly half full.  However much water you put in is how much stock you get out!

Now gather your trifecta of vegetables, the carrots, celery and onions.  You ALWAYS want these when making soup.  

Give em' a rough chop, like this:

Now put them in the pot!

Gather your spices, salt, peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves...

 You know what to do!!

Add those garlic cloves:

And you're done!  Put a lid on the pot, bring to boiling, and then turn the heat down to low to simmer for at least a couple hours (more if you want).

Look at that steam!

After a couple of hours, put the entire pot in the refrigerator to cool down.  I like to do this to remove some of the fat that will coagulate when it gets cold.  That helps keep this stock as healthy as can be!  I left mine in the fridge overnight, but feel free to do this all in one day.  And you don't necessarily need to do this step, you can go ahead and strain your stock when it;s still warm if you'd like to use it immediately.  When your stock is ready to strain, get out your sieve, or strainer, or cheesecloth, whatever you have.  

Pour the entire contents of the stock pot through the sieve/cheesecloth to separate the liquid from the solids.  I didn't take a picture of this, because really, I already made you look at chicken bones once, do I have to do it again?!  NO!  Throw away the bones/veggies, you won't need those and behold your GLORIOUS stock!!!

I put my stock in freezer safe containers and store them in my freezer until I'm ready to use it.  You can store it in a container in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days and in a freezer for 3 or 4 months. 

In our next post, we're going to use the stock AND the leftover chicken to make a seriously EASY meal for dinner.

And don't forget to follow me on Twitter for more updates!

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