Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Homemade Chicken Stock

Now I think Yotam Ottalenghi said it best in his book Plenty, “the crucial component in this dish [Lemon and Eggplant Risotto] is the stock, which will make or break it.” I didn’t listen, and he was right. Now, yes, when you only need a ¼ cup of stock, the store bought stuff is just fine. But if you have the time, and you are making a dish entirely based around the stock, like a soup or risotto, I agree with Mr. Ottalenghi, make your own. This way you can not only control the prominent flavors, but also the amount of salt. Making stock can be pretty intimidating, but all you need is a big pot (my 6 quart just barely cut it) and a strainer (I got this one just for the occasion).

There are millions of stock recipes out there, they are all pretty similar. I chose this one and will experiment and tweak to find my favorite method. I also chose this recipe because I thought that I everything would be able to fit in my biggest pot...sort of....

CHICKEN STOCK - Makes 2 quarts

1 whole free-range chicken (about 3½ pounds), rinsed, giblets, discarded
2 carrots, cut in large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks
2 large white onions, quartered
1 head of garlic, halved
1 turnips, halved or 4 baby turnips, halved
¼ bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole rainbow or black peppercorns

Place the chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in only enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in the thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 to 1½ hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When its cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container. Freeze and save for another use, like chicken salad sandwiches.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove and discard the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan on storing it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

1 comment:

  1. Now we know what you need for your kitchen--a 12 qt stockpot!