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Fear Conquered: Homemade Chicken Stock
Today I'm sick and I feel lousy (and I don't really feel like doing anything except crawling into bed and snoozing the remainder of the day away). Today is also a day free from my part-time day-job, so I'm cramming in cooking and baking like a squirrel cramming in nuts for winter. Despite infirmities. Despite wanting nothing but the bed. So today's post will be deliriously blunt.
WHY DOES ANYONE BUY STOCK?! I can only assume it's out of fear. Afraid there isn't time. Afraid of what's involved. Afraid of the results. Afraid of failure. There are some things to be afraid of - Hunger Games, psychotic Jokers, black holes, heart disease, the list goes on. But chicken stock isn't on that list. Friendly ingredients, friendly technique, friendly on time.
But the fear still persists. Where does the chicken flavor come from? And what about bones? And where does one get chicken bones? And how much does one need? Where's the safe padded cell with a safe box of store-bought chicken stock? Where's my blankie?!
There, there. We can both hold the comforting box of chicken stock while I explain.
Chicken flavor comes from chicken, in this case, chicken bones, fat and drippings. The fastest way to get bones, fat and drippings is to roast a chicken. Which is also easy (check out my Herb Roasted Chicken). After roasting and eating a chicken, you'll be left with bones and drippings, fat and skin. All good stuff and perfect for making stock.
Once you've got the chicken carcass, grab some vegetables, water and spice and you've got stock. Stock you make. Stock without a box or can or bouillon cube. Stock so easy you can get back to pondering the really scary stuff. Like Decepticons, Sith Lords, crocodiles, killer bees...
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|You will need a large stock pot.|
|I recommend a stock pot with a 10-15 quart capacity (mine has a 12 quart capacity).|
|Add 3 Tablespoons of olive oil to the stock pot and heat over medium heat while you prepare vegetables.|
|For basic vegetable stock, you will need onion, garlic, carrots, fresh parsley and fresh thyme. You can certainly add more vegetables and herbs you have lying about.|
|Roughly chunk the onion and add to the stock pot.|
|Roughly chunk the carrots and add to the stock pot.|
|Halve a head of garlic and add to the stock pot.|
|Roughly chop a large bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley and add to the pot.|
|I also like to add vegetable peels and trimmings I've collected to the stock.|
|I also raid my vegetable drawer and add whatever I can find.|
|Next, add the spices. I use fennel seed, celery seed, cracked black pepper, dried oregano, dried dill, dried rosemary, cumin, bay leaves and kosher salt.|
|Add all selected vegetables to the stock pot.|
|Add all spices and seasonings.|
|Add the chicken carcass and roasting juices to the stock pot.|
|Stir everything together and cover. Let the vegetables steam/saute covered for 15 minutes.|
|Add 1 1/2 gallons purified water to the stock pot.|
|Stir everything together, bring stock to the boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 2-3 hours.|
|Stock broth will change to a rich brown and the will have reduced by approximately 1/2.|
|To strain, set up a bowl and sieve. For really clear stock, you can also line the sieve with cheese cloth.|
|Strain the stock. I strain mine twice to make sure I've removed every chunk of vegetable.|
|Allow the strained stock to cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing.|
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Homemade Chicken Stock
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 2-3 hrs
Ingredients (makes 3 quarts)
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large carrots, chunked
- 2 large yellow onions, chunked
- 1 head of garlic, halved
- 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- 1 chicken carcass (and roasting juices, if possible)
- 1 container of vegetable trimmings (optional)
- 4 cups assorted vegetables, chopped (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon fennel seed, crushed
- 1 teaspoon celery seed, crushed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoons dried dill
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 1/2 gallons (24 cups) purified water
- Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot (10-15 quart capacity) over medium heat
- While the olive oil heats, prepare the vegetables, chicken carcass, roasting juices and spices; add to the stock pot and stir to combine everything. Cover the stock pot and cook for 20 minutes
- Add the purified water (I prefer water purified by reverse osmosis), stir well, cover the pot and bring to the boil
- Reduce the heat to medium and let the stock simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the stock liquid is a rich brown color and has reduced by half
- Remove from heat, strain and let cool to room temperature before refrigerating or freezing. Stock can be kept in the refrigerator for approximately 1 week and frozen indefinitely
An original recipe by Javelin Warrior. © 2011 Javelin Warrior. All rights reserved.
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Hungry for Tips?
- For basic stock tips, check out my Homemade Vegetable Stock recipe. In fact, this chicken stock recipe is based on my vegetable stock with the only major difference being the addition of the chicken carcass.
- Collect vegetable trimmings and keep them in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to a week. You'll be surprised at how much you accumulate in a week and they're perfect for making stock.
- Some people skim, strain, chill and re-skim/strain their stock to arrive at a gorgeous consomme-like broth. If you've got the time, feel free to skim and strain until your soul bleeds. Personally, I strain three times with a fine sieve (rinsing and discarding anything caught in the sieve) and I'm quite pleased with the clarity of my stock.
- I always use the carcass from a 7 to 8 pound chicken and I typically have approximately 3 cups of roasting juices from the bird to add back to the stock. The larger the carcass and the more roasting juices, the better the chicken flavor.
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