Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Basic Chicken Stock

Sunday, October 11, 2009
Now that winter has is upon us, we normally turn our attention to the most basic and warming of foods. Home made soups have nourished generations. When the wind bites there is nothing to rival the comfort of a steaming bowl of home made soup. A good stock is the foundation of a good home made soup.
There is very little in common between commercially made stock and home made stock. A good home made stock can make any soup, or meal go from good to great. It's cheap and easy to have homemade chicken stock on hand: all you really need is time.
My grandmother would make her chicken stock when she had enough chicken necks, backs, and wings saved. Then she would clear out her vegetable drawer and use up any veggies that needed to be used ASAP. For me, I don't have the patience to collect chicken pieces, instead, I used a whole chicken. Or if I have roasted a chicken or Turkey, then I will use the carcass to make the stock. I normally, make stock when I'm going to be home for a couple of hours. I put all the ingredients together and go on about my business. Here my recipe for chicken stock:
**On the day I made this stock - I made Mexican Tortilla Soup thus the tomatoes
Chicken Stock:
1 whole organic chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded, and skin removed (optional)
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 large white onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved
1/4 bunch fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon pepper flakes (optional)
1. Begin by chopping your veggies. NOTE: you don't have to chop veggies, if you would like, you can wash the veggies and leave them whole.

2. Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat.

Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak.
3. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil.
Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface (because I remove the skin - I don't need to skim as often) ; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.
Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.
Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.
Yield: 2 quarts
I hope you will try to make your own stock. It will add a new dimension to your recipes.

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