Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Today is Chicken Stock Day!

So recently I made chicken enchiladas.  They're awesome (thanks to for some great diet-friendly recipes).  The up-side is that we have two meals (since only JP and I eat them) of delicious Mexican food.  The down-side is that I am now out of chicken stock.  I guess that's not really a down-side since I get to make more and I love making chicken stock :)

Well, love is a strong word, but trust me when I say that I like cooking big pots of stuff.  There's something so satisfying about having a pot on the stove bubbling away and savory smells permeating the house.

Making your own chicken stock is easy, but a little time consuming.   Mostly unattended cooking time though, so go for it!

Here's what you'll need:

  • leftover chicken parts - bones, skin, flecks of meat from chicken you've eaten recently.  I usually take leftovers and throw them in a gallon freezer bag and keep them in the freezer until I have enough to make stock. 3-4 breasts, a chicken carcass, random parts...all will be good here
  • veggies - a few whole carrots, a few ribs of celery, an onion quartered
  • seasoning - a few cloves of garlic, a bay leaf, peppercorns, fresh thyme, parsley or dried if fresh isn't available
  • tea "ball" - its a mesh ball used for brewing a pot of tea, or a giant one is for soup.  I've heard some cooks use cheesecloth, but I just use the ball since I have one.
  • skimmer - to remove the scuzz
  • water
  • big old stockpot
  • Salt??  I usually leave salt out or use VERY little.  The idea is that I'll be using this for cooking and most recipes have salt added, so I just salt to taste then.

Place the veggies (celery, carrot, and onion) and seasoning n the pot.

Toss chicken right on top, straight from the fridge or freezer.

Cover with water, a lot of water (about 6" above the top of the chicken) and fire it up!

Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer.  Simmer for 4 hours skimming the scuzz (you'll know it when you see it) a few times each hour.  Add hot tap water when the water level gets low.  

When it's done, scoop out all the chicken pieces, bones, veggies, seasoning and discard.  Strain the stock and put it in the fridge overnight. 

In the morning, scoop out all the solidified fats.  

I freeze the stock in ice cube trays and then pop them into a gallon zipper bag so I can just grab however much I need to use.  I don't usually thaw the cubes before I use it, just toss them into the slow cooker, saucepan, skillet, etc.  

And that's it!  Was that so hard?  Naaaah.

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