Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How-To: Easy Homemade Chicken Stock

Chicken Stock at home is so easy that you will be shocked you've never done it before once you've tried it.  First thing's first: What is the difference between stock and broth? Well, they are very similar, both use parts of chickens, water and veggies to make.  The main difference is that stock uses just the bones (carcass) of the bird while broth uses the whole chicken, meat included.  Stock has a richer taste with more "body".  Often times the bones from roasted chickens are used to make a stock.  This is what I have done here.  Just follow one of my two roast chicken recipes below..... and keep the bones:


-bones and carcass from a roasted chicken (most of the meat removed)
-3-4 stalks of celery
-2-3 carrots
-2 white onions
-2 Tbsp black peppercorns
-2 dried bay leaves
-5-6 springs of fresh parsley

Optional additional ingredients:

-fresh springs of thyme
-fresh sprigs of rosemary
-2-3 garlic cloves, crushed with a knife
-1 parsnip, peeled and cut into pieces
-2-3 cloves (if you like the flavor)

In a large pot, place the chicken bones and carcass and fill with water.  Make sure the water goes about 2-3 inches above the bones, because the liquid will cook down over time.  

Remove the skin from the onions and quarter them. Peel the carrots and chop into large pieces.  Rinse the celery and chop into large pieces as well.  Throw all the veggies (carrots, onions and celery in the pot).  Add the 5-6 sprigs of parsley, 2 Tbsp peppercorns, and 2 dried bay leaves into the pot.  If you have some of those other optional ingredients, add them now.

Bring the pot of stock to a boil over high heat.  Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low ....making sure it no longer boils.  You want it to just simmer uncovered for 4-5 hours.  If there is a lot of white, foamy fat that accumulates on the top of the stock you can skim it off with a slotted spoon and discard. After the cooking time, strain out the solids using a strainer and other large pot.  You now have homemade, rich (much lower sodium) chicken stock made with love :)  Use it immediately for the base of a soup or keep in the fridge a few days.  Any longer and it should be frozen.  You can even freeze portion sizes in ice-cube trays or muffin tins.  This way you can add to chicken dishes, rices, or pasta sauces for a quick flavor boost!

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