Friday, January 20, 2012
How to Make Chicken Stock
Today, I'm making chicken stock. I've discovered that whole chicken is so much better than frozen portions, for several reasons.
First of all, it's soo much cheaper. Usually I can get a whole chicken for about 99 cents a pound, which is much cheaper than other meats.
Also, I can cook and prep a lot of meat at once, then have it in the freezer all ready to toss in a meal. Easy!
Another benefit is that I find the texture of roast chicken to be so perfect. Tender and flavorful, shredded instead of cubed. Mmmm.
And lastly, you can make your own chicken stock. Homemade chicken stock is so much tastier than store bought, and practically free! I mean, you're using the bones of the chicken, that you would have just tossed out anyway. Thrifty! It's also super healthy.
What I try to do is buy several whole chickens at once and roast them in the oven. I like to pour melted butter on top, sprinkle with sea salt and cajun seasoning, then just let them roast for 20 minutes a pound. Then we eat roast chicken for supper, and I shred the rest of it and bag it for the freezer for later. I can usually get three or four meals out of a chicken, more if I try to stretch it.
To make the stock, simply put all your bones, fat, drippings, etc. in a large stock pot. Toss in a quartered onion, a few carrots, some basil, a couple crushed cloves of garlic, and anything else that sounds tasty to you. Fill up your pot with water (covering the bones by at least a couple inches.) Don't add salt at this point. There will already be salt from the drippings, and some of the water will evaporate, intensifying that. So, taste when you're done and add salt if you want. I usually just leave it as it is, so that I can control the saltiness of each individual dish as I make it.
Bring the stock up to a boil, then simmer on the stove for around twelve hours. I've been told that amount of time gets the most nutrients out into the broth. And your house will smell really good. :)
When it's done, just strain it all through a colander, to get the bones and things out. I use the cooked carrots to feed to my little munchkin. She likes the chicken broth flavor. After it cools, you can either pour it into ice cube trays and freeze them so you can take out however much you need at a time. Or, you can freeze them in small sour cream containers for one cup portions. Then you can use it to make things! Yummy things. Things like Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup...mmmm...