Sunday, November 6, 2011

Chicken Stock

Why is it that some of cooking's basics are the hardest to master?  I have found that the building blocks to great cooking and baking are often the things that evade me.  Tempering eggs, turning an angel food cake upside down to cool (funny story there), activating yeast, making a basic roasted chicken or the perfect stock.  I've had trouble with each of these and am still finding my way with the first items on the list.

Over the years I have made many attempts of homemade stock and often times the end result is slightly yellowed water that tastes like, well, water.  Adding a few vegetables and calling it soup was highly disappointing and self-deflating for sure.  How could I not be capable of making chicken soup???   Then I found a method that has magically changed everything.  It's a process that involves more than boiling a carcass for a few hours and exclaiming macaroni.  Flavors must develop and deepen and this doesn't happen in a few hours.  You can't rush this process.  Now that I know this, I will never make a flavorless chicken stock again.  Now, you won't either.

I generally roast the chicken, serve my family a delicious meal, and refrigerate the carcass in its entirety in a large dutch pot.  The next day I will make stock early in the morning and let it simmer for most of the day.  Often times I will allow the stock to sit in the fridge for 2-3 days which really allows flavors to develop. 

All the goods: 
 Midway through cooking time:
Finished before heading into the fridge overnight:


Best Chicken Stock/Broth slightly modified from Kittencal's recipe
3-4 lbs chicken carcass (no need to take the meat off the bone)
2 large onions, cut in large pieces (can leave skin on)
2 large unpeeled carrots, washed
2 large celery ribs, washed and cut into large pieces
10 -12 peppercorns
1 head garlic, broken into cloves (can leave skin on)
1 Tbs salt (or to taste)
cold water to cover all ingredients

Place the chicken carcass in an extra large stock pot, along with all remaining ingredients. Fill with cold water to cover ingredients, and up to almost three quarters of the stock pot.

Place on stove element; bring to a full boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer on low heat for about 4-5 hours for stove top.  After the simmering time turn off heat and allow the pot to cool. Transfer the pot to the fridge (with all ingredients still in it) and chill overnight.

The following day remove the pot from the fridge. Remove any fat that has gathered on top.  Strain the liquid into another large container.  You may now divide the liquid into freezable containers or use the entire recipe for a batch of soup. Discard the vegetables and pick the meat off the bone of the carcass for soup of another use.

Servings: 10
Cooking Times
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 4-5 hours
Inactive Time: 12 hours

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