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Monday, July 13, 2009

Always Take the Stock Option

Yesterday I made chicken stock from all the carcasses I had in my freezer. Making chicken stock is super easy and tastes SO much better than that store-bought "broth" you buy at the store (but in a pinch, I do use it).

Sometimes I think it is worth buying a small chicken (a "fryer") just so I can make yummy stock!

I always keep a zipper bag in the freezer to which I add any chicken pieces (bones and skin after we've eaten the meat) and random bits of veggies or veggie trimmings (carrots, onion, celery, garlic peel, parsley stems, etc.). Once the bag is full and/or I need some stock I throw it into a pot of water.

These are my ideal components to making chicken stock:
  • chicken pieces (skin, bones, left over meat)
  • celery
  • parsley
  • onion
  • carrot
  • bay leaf
  • pepper corns
  • celery seed
Here's how you do it:
  1. Grab a stock bag from the freezer (or two if you have a big pot and want a lot of stock like I did). Dump it into a big pot.
  2. Depending on what's in your stock bag, add any remaining ingredients. If you don't have some of these things, don't worry about it because it'll still be good. I used a whole onion, a container of frozen shredded carrots (someone gave me a BIG bag of carrots a few months back and I knew I'd never be able to use them all before they went bad so into the freezer they went for cooking), tired-looking parsley that I've had for a while, and the spices. My stock bag didn't have anything but chicken and a few carrot peelings in it. Oh, and there's no need to chop things up much since they'll cook to pieces anyway.
  3. Fill the pot up with water until it is just over the ingredients.
  4. Bring the pot to a boil. I did this on my BBQ since it was super hot and I didn't want to heat up the house. Ghetto, yes. But it works. (Plus the neighborhood started to smell really good after a while!)
  5. Let it simmer for an hour or more. The longer, the better. The heat and the water actually work to hydrolyze the collagen in the chicken bones to form a gel. This is why the meat drippings from your holiday ham or turkey turn into jello when you put them in the fridge...while baking in your oven the juices and heat turned the not water soluble collagen into water soluble gelatin. This is why vegetarians don't eat jello (or Tylenol gelcaps or marshmallows many brands of sour cream or anything else containing gelatin)...because it is made from animal bones. =) Yummy. Anyway, the small amount of gel that forms in your stock gives it a creamy, smooth taste. You'll never have that from store bought broth.
  6. Then scoop out all the cooked-down ingredients with a slotted spoon and throw them away.
  7. Strain the small bits out of the stock by pouring the hot stock through a cheese cloth (or an old but clean shirt).
  8. Refrigerate the strained stock until the fat solidifies on top.
  9. Then just remove the fat and throw it away. Depending on how long you cooked the stock, it may or may not be a gel once it cools (mine sure was!).
  10. Make your favorite rice, soup, or whatever recipe you want. It'll be fantastic!
I'm going to make this stock into several jars of Cook Su base for after the baby comes. I'll add all the ingredients (minus the cooked noodles) and freeze it in jars. Then all we have to do is boil up some noodles and we have a very quick, light meal. Yummy!

2 comments:

Mimi mouse said...

can you please come over and make me something yummy? ;)

Kelly said...

cool, that's almost exactly what I'm doing :) Thanks Julie!!!