Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chicken Stock

I read a book a few years back all about soups and how to make stock.  The rather detailed, long lists of ingredients, and complicated methodology left me feeling somewhat out of my depth.  I gave up on making stock.  Stock was obviously not something an average cook was meant to make.  But over time I have come to realise that it is quite possible to make a decent stock with very little effort or know-how.  The trick is to cook it to death.  Okay, so not literally.  But the basic idea is that stock takes time, lots of time.  I was always trying to hurry my stock along, and would then wonder why I got coloured water instead of succulent, tasty stock. 

My personal version of chicken stock: Take one chicken carcass (apparently one that was roast dinner the night before is best, but raw will work too).  Plonk in a large pot, just cover with boiling water, add some salt (maybe half a teaspoon?).  Simmer.  Simmer.  Simmer.  For as many hours as you can manage...I usually try for all morning.  Leave it to sit and cool, pick any decent bits of meat off the carcass and return them to the stock if you want or use them for something else, and fish out any bones you can (a seive is great if you're not keeping any meat in there!).  If you want to freeze it and have it as low-fat as possible, chill it in the fridge overnight so you can skim the fat off before freezing in labelled containers.  That's it.  There are, of course, a lot of other ingredients you can add which will all help make the stock more flavoursome: an onion, some garlic, some fresh or dried herbs (like rosemary, thyme, marjoram, parsley, etc), some bay leaves, or peppercorns.  Carrot and celery are also common stock-making items.  I usually end up adding a few herbs and maybe an onion.  Sometimes more.  Usually not.  So I am quite possibly a lazy cook.  There's always so much else to be done!
The uses for chicken stock?  Endless, or at least almost so!  I use it for casseroles, soups, and rissotto.  What do you use chicken stock for?


1 comment:

MaxineD said...

Hmmm - maybe I need to get some boiling chickens again and start stock for some soups. I use the crockpot and leave it 12 hours or so.