Thursday, February 3, 2011

Chicken Stock 101

Making your own stock is very simple and takes only a few ingredients that you should keep as "staple" items in your pantry anyway.  This week I wanted to try my hand at making my own stock since I make so much soup.  What is great about this recipe is you can make it in a crock pot on high for 4 hours, or on low for 6 and you can leave the house instead of sitting around like I did! I made this on the stove, so all of the times are based on the stove.

Chicken Stock

1.)  Chop up some veggies that are in your fridge.  I had an onion, celery, the tops of a leek, carrots, garlic, and a bundle of thyme. You can really use this as a chance to empty your fridge of any herbs or veggies you have on hand.  I would only suggest that the onion and celery are a must, and not to worry about measurements.  Just throw in what you have!

2.)  Put a small whole chicken (mine's 4 lbs) or a large chicken (cut into pieces) into a large pot with the veggies; season slightly with a pinch of salt & pepper.  Cover all the ingredients with water, put a lid on the pot, and bring to a boil.

3.)  Once it is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1.5 - 2 hours, or until the juices run clear.  Some 'scum' may appear on the water at the beginning of boiling.  You can just remove that with a spoon.

4.)  Remove the chicken and set aside.  Strain veggies from the broth and discard.  You are left with a beautiful, rich, homemade chicken stock that will last you for several batches of soup.  It can store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or you can freeze the liquid in freezer bags for up to 3 months.  If you want to remove the fat, let the liquid cool completely and scoop off the fat that rises to the top.

You can use the leftover chicken to make soups, put into wraps, or just eat as is! You can even make my chicken and dumplings....which I will reveal to you in my next post!

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