Monday, April 7, 2008

A lesson in chicken stock--

I have to make a confession here-- it really peeves me when folks use the words "Broth" and "Stock" interchangeably. They are NOT the same thing! Broth is made from the meat and stock depends on the bones. Thus, stock is actually very thick and gelatinous. I also feel that the flavor is more concentrated in a stock vs. a broth. And stock certainly works in sauce much differently than broths as a fat(cream etc.) typically is not needed b/c of the consistency of the gelatin.

I like to make stock once I've roasted a bird. Typically I will pick what meat I can off of the bones before throwing the carcass into a pot. This is a great way to really get your money's worth from a $10, 6.5lb roaster!

Tip: I am not sure why, but I do know you get a better stock from roasted bones (post-cooked chicken carcass) vs. using a fresh chicken/chicken parts.

Here's my standard recipe:

White Stock-

1 cooked chicken carcass, picked clean(6lbs + /or 2 smaller birds)
1 - 1 1/2 gallons of water (2 finger lengths of water over chicken)
1 whole chopped onion
2 ribs celery cut into chunks
3 carrots cut into chunks
3-4 cloves peeled garlic
8 whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
few sprigs of thyme & parsley (dried thyme works here too)
a few tspns salt

Bring everything to a boil, cut to a simmer. After a while, skim the scuzz off that rises to the top. Simmer for approx. 6 hours. This is the optimum gelatin extraction time.

Set up a strainer/colander fitted with cheesecloth over a large bowl. When stock is ready, pour into seive, straining all chunks in the cheesecloth. Take newly strained stock and set it in a quick ice bath to bring the temp down(I leave it in a very large stainless bowl). It won't cool fast enough in the fridge to keep harmful bacteria from forming. So, the ice bath will give it head start and keep you safe!

Once cooled in the fridge, the next day, skim fat from top of stock. Stock will be very thick and jello-esque (if you've done your job right! :) ). I typically will freeze in quart sized baggies in 1/2 cup measurements. Stock will keep in the freezer for up to three months, so date those bags. Please bring any homemade stock to a boil before using (in order to kill any leftover cooties!)

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