If you happen to have cats, there is nothing that will drive them to your kitchen faster than preparing your own chicken stock. We make batches of it every other week, and our 3 cats are always around for the excitement.
Chicken stock is the base for so many recipes. Being able to make your own is one of the best ways to not only save a few dollars when you go food shopping, but to give you control over the quality of ingredients you are feeding yourself and your family. Purchasing chicken stock from the supermarket is relative to throwing money out the window.
Companies that make it somehow get away with calling it stock, when what they sell is really just diluted water with a slight hint of chicken. You may think that it's not that important when cooking since it's just a base, but you'd be surprised if you did a taste comparison with a recipe cooked in homemade stock vs the chemical filled ones from the store. I experimented with several different variations in making stock over the years and this one wins, hands-down.
Some may argue that it should be called a broth instead. While the difference between the two may seem semantic, I use bone in the recipe because it's where most of the flavor comes from. In contrast, a broth is made with meat. Of course the main ingredient in this recipe is bone from the carcass of 1 chicken.
What I do is purchase a whole free range bird from the market and treat myself to a nice roast chicken. I save the bones for stock. Some markets will carry the bone. If you don't have time to roast an entire bird, just ask the butcher. You may even luck out and get it for free!
The first time I cooked my own stock I stored it inside a mason jar in my refrigerator, and I freaked out the next day when I noticed it had the consistency of Jello. A quick search of Google showed me that it's completely normal for real stock to come out that way. I guess the gelatin and rich protein found in the bone marrow is what causes it. Whatever you do, don't freak out. Reheating it will bring it back down to liquid.
Storing it is easy, just keep it inside a jar or container in your refrigerator or freezer. If you get into jarring at all then you can figure out how to preserve it even longer. I haven't gotten that far yet but it's on my list of things to do real soon. Make sure you always have some of this on hand, and if you're ever under the weather, there's nothing better than a steaming cup of chicken stock to make you feel better.
- 1 Pound Chicken bones (Remains from roasting a chicken work great. Remove as much meat as possible.)
- 1 Large White onion (sliced)
- 3 Large Carrots (sliced)
- 3 Celery stalk (broken)
- 1 Leek (sliced)
- 3 Bay leaf
- 1 bunch Thyme
- 1 bunch Parsley
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black peppercorns
- 8 Garlic cloves (smashed)
|1.||Using a dutch oven or stock pot, place the chicken bones in the bottom of the pot. Place smashed garlic, sliced onion, sliced celery, sliced leek, sliced carrot, and bay leaves on top of the bones. Add salt and black peppercorns. Tie the parsley and thyme into a bunch with some cooking string and place on top. Add enough water to cover all ingredients. I use filtered water from my refrigerator. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover pot for an hour. Be sure to check for surface scum while it is simmering, and remove any of it with a mesh skimmer.|
|2.||Remove pot from heat, and prepare a colander with a bowl or pot beneath it to catch all the liquid. Some people prefer to use a cheese cloth, or cotton towel to filter out all the stray pieces, but I don't mind them so much. Pour everything from the pot into the colander to drain. If you can handle the heat, I like to squeeze all the vegetables to get any remaining juices out of it, then discard everything. Store stock in your refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze it for up to 6 months.|