Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Homemade Chicken Stock "Recipe"

Here is my recipe for homemade chicken stock, though I wouldn't actually consider it a recipe because I basically just throw some stuff in a pot with no regards to such things as measurements.

First, throw all of your chicken carcasses and leftover veggies (carrots, onions, celery) into a large pot. If you don't have all of the veggies I listed, don't worry. Just use whatever of the three you may have or none at all, what really matters is the chicken. I also throw in a couple of bay leaves because they seem to make it taste a notch better. Fill the pot with enough water to over everything and bring to a simmer. The question of how long to simmer everything is really up to you- do it until the stock smells and tastes good. You can make it as potent as you want. The picture above was taken awhile ago- yesterday  when I made my stock I used two chicken carcasses so my pot was much fuller.

If you are going to be gone all day and still want homemade stock you can just throw everything into a slow cooker on the low setting. It still comes out great and if need be if the stock is not potent enough you can always reduce it in a pot after the straining process.

Once your stock has the desired flavor it's time to strain in. This is my straining contraption- I place a colander in a pot. Pretty high tech, huh? To make sure you strain all of the small bits out you can you cheesecloth (the best way to do it) or be ghetto like me and use paper towels (just make sure to change them often). Have a plastic bag handy for all of the scraps. Once the stock has been strained let it cool on the counter a bit and then place in the refrigerator to completely cool.

If for some reason you decide you want your stock to be more potent you can just simmer it on the stove until it has your desired taste. That is what is great about making it yourself- if you simmer down the store bought stuff it becomes way too salty because of all the salt they add to it.

Once cooled the stock will be jelly like; this is normal, though it looks kind of weird. When you heat it up it will turn back into a liquid which is good because I doubt my family would be into chicken jello. Skim any fat off of the top and your stock is ready to rumble!

When I make homemade chicken stock I portion it out into plastic containers and pop them into the freezer so that I have stock ready to use in recipes (I sometimes take the frozen stock portions and put them all into a large freezer bag). Today I ended up with eight cups of stock (a 3 cup portion, a two cup portion and three 1 cup portions) which was yielded from two chicken carcasses and a bevy of carrots, celery and onions (all leftovers from various food preps). You may end up with more or less depending on how many carcasses you have and how long you simmer your stock for.

I'm not sure how much eight cups of stock would cost in the store but this is some high quality stuff with no added weird ingredients- just water, chicken, carrots, celery, onions, and bay leaves (I don't add any salt to it until it get used in a recipe). Plus it was basically free because I used items to make it that would have normally been thrown out.

It is frugal and gourmet all rolled into one!

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