Friday, May 01, 2015

Taking Stock: Homemade Chicken Stock

Stocks and broths are definitely having a moment right now, finding popularity in the least likely of places - the good news is, they really are good for you! I'd been wanting to make not just a regular stock or broth, but something that would serve as a restorative beverage as well. I began saving chicken bones, plus a few odd ends of celery and carrot, stashing them in the freezer along the way:

When I deemed I had enough contributors for a small batch of stock, plus a fresh lemon on hand, I thawed my stash and added everything to a large pan, along with a few bay leaves, a teaspoon of peppercorns, and about a Tablespoon of Kosher salt:

Preparing to make chicken stock

I filled with water to cover the contents, brought the stock to a boil, and reduced to simmering (uncovered) for about 3 1/2 hours. I checked regularly for any impurities, but thankfully there was never anything to skim. I topped off the water a few times during the process, but then left it alone after that, not wanting to dilute the flavor any further. Towards the end of the cooking time, I adjusted with another few teaspoons of salt. When I felt the stock was "done", I turned off the heat and let it cool, uncovered, for about an hour:

My solids were large enough that I could remove them with a slotted spoon. Only a few very tiny bits of chicken remained, but I wasn't bothered by them, and they would just add protein. I found I had a delicately golden liquid, tangy from the lemon and slightly bitter from the rind, with a good, rounded flavor:

I can see not only drinking this warm on its own, but also heating until piping and adding raw veggies to let wilt for a "fresh" garden soup. A few dumplings or chicken meatballs wouldn't go amiss, either. All in all, a little time and planning gave me a versatile ingredient from leftover bits, a few pantry items, and some water. How wonderful is that?


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