Monday, April 21, 2014

using the whole chicken // part 3 (chicken stock)

use the whole chicken

Part 1 // roasted chicken and Part 2 // Chicken Noodle Soup

I know, this is totally the post you've all been waiting for in this series. This is my favorite part of using the whole chicken.

We make a lot of soups and other recipes that call for chicken broth in our house. We use a lot of chicken broth and stock. And even in making my own, I still have to buy some at the store in order to have enough (which I hate doing, but it's just the way things are). But, when I can, I absolutely prefer to use stock that I've made. And that's for 2 reasons. 1. The flavor is unmatched. Seriously, once you make your own stock you won't want to use store-bought and 2. I know exactly what is in my stock.

For those two reasons, I want to share my method for making chicken stock. It's simple, quick and it makes your house smell amazing.

You'll need:

Chicken carcass/bones from a roasted or rotisserie chicken
Olive oil
2-3 good sized carrots (we buy the jumbo bag of organic carrots at Sam's club and it lasts us close to a month)
1 onion
4 stalks of celery
4-5 cloves of garlic
salt and pepper
10-12 cups cold water

Cut up all of your vegetables into big giant chunks. This should take 2 seconds. Don't peel your carrots. Don't throw away the ends of the carrots or the onion. The only thing I do suggest is to peel the paper-y layer off the onion and toss. Other than that, everything goes in.

Heat a big pot. Add a few Tbsp of olive oil. Toss in the veggies and stir. In the mean time, smash your garlic and peel of the paper. No need to cut them or mince them. Toss them in the pot whole. Let all the veggies cook for just a few minutes until there is a tasty aroma. I'm talking 3 minutes tops.

Throw in your chicken carcass, all bones, skin, whatever is left of it. Make sure it can touch the bottom of the pot for a minutes or 2. And be sure there's enough oil so it doesn't burn.

Add salt and pepper. Again, no measurements for you here. Just what you feel is good. If I were to guess a good amount I'd say 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoons of pepper.

Pour in water until the chicken is almost completely covered. Basically the entire pot should be filled. Bring to a boil.

Turn down to a simmer, like about the lowest your stove will go. Put the lid on and let it simmer (I like to be sure there are small bubbles coming up the whole time, but just barely) all day, about 5-6 hours.

Then be sure to write me an email to say thank you for making your house smell so incredible ;)

When it's done, the whole chicken will have fallen completely apart. The broth will be dark and golden.

Turn your burner off and let the pot cool. At this point you have 2 choices. You can strain your stock now and put it in the refrigerator. Or you can go the lazy route, like I normally do and put the pot in the refrigerator and strain the next day, when you have more energy. It's easier to skim your fat if you strain first, but it's all up to you!

When the stock has cooled completely, the fat will have risen to the top and made a thin layer. Skim this layer off using a slotted spoon. Keep your fat in an air tight container (and check back for part 4 to see what to do with it). If you've already strained your broth, it will store in the fridge for several days or in the freezer for a good long while. Be sure it's in an air tight container. If you haven't yet strained your stock, do it now and then put in containers for storage in the fridge or freezer.

Toss what's left in the pot and you're done!

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A note about leaving the lid on or off during cooking: generally when making stock you leave the lid off. I don't. Mostly because when the lid is off, a lot of the water evaporates. While this does make for a more concentrated flavor and thicker stock, I prefer not to lose all that liquid and I'm willing to compromise. If that's what you're looking for, then leave the lid off during the simmering process.

You'll probably also notice (if you're familiar with other stock recipes) that I don't skim the fat off of the stock during the cooking process. Nope, just don't have the time or patience. I'm chasing 2 small children around all day. I like to keep things simple.

As with before, leave me any questions or comments below. Like I've said a couple different times, I don't follow the book on this recipe. Mostly for simplicity reasons. If I didn't have kids and I had more time, I might do things differently. But I assure you, following this method will yield you a very delicious stock.



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