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Sunday, January 25, 2009

How to Use a Whole Chicken Three Ways--Part III, Homemade Chicken Stock

So the last thing I made from the roast chicken was homemade chicken stock. I've made veggie stock before, but never a meat stock, but I decided to go out on a limb with the cooked carcass. I've only ever seen recipes for meat stocks with uncooked parts. The idea came at Thanksgiving when the French butchers thought they were doing me a favor by removing (and throwing away) all of the gizzards. When I went to make some extra turkey stock for the gravy, I didn't know what to do. As you may remember, I cooked the turkey the morning of Thanksgiving and my husband carved it hours before the masses arrived to free up oven and refrigerator space. While he was carving, I noticed all of the leftover bones, bits of meat and skin. Why not make a stock out of that? I did, and it turned out great! So I made a reproduction of that turkey stock with this chicken carcass.

I don't really have a recipe for this. I threw the carcass in a large pot and covered generously with water. (In retrospect, I probably would freeze this until I cooked another chicken and then use two carcasses for added chicken flavor.) I then added the leftover parts of veggies I had in a large ziplock bag in my freezer. I've started saving the inedible parts of vegetables (tops, stalks, etc.) just for something like this. This time, the frozen bits included mostly leeks, broccoli, and celery, but I added some fresh garlic, onion and carrots to the mix too. I also added a little salt, some peppercorns and a bouquet garni sachet. I took Alton Brown's suggestion of putting a steamer basket on top to hold the veggies down, skimmed the top for that gross frothy stuff every once in a while, and just let simmer for about six hours. I ended up adding a couple of cups of water throughout the simmering process because it started reducing too much. (Sorry, no pictures today...stock just isn't that photogenic!)

At the end of six hours, I submerged the pot in an ice bath in my sink until the stock was cooled down. Then I put it in muffin tins in 1/4-cup increments and froze them. Once frozen, I popped them out and put them in a plastic ziplock bag in the freezer to be used whenever I need stock!

The total use of the chicken (and even the bits of veggies I normally throw away) has made me feel very economical, and as my husband put it, very ecological too. Stock is really easy to make, even if time consuming, and I think it adds a much better flavor and is much healthier when homemade.

4 comments:

Laura December 6, 2009 at 8:43 PM  

Thank you for this whole chicken series. This is exactly what I was looking for. Initial recipe, leftover recipe, and reminder on how to make stock.

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