Monday, October 12, 2009

Easy to Make Chicken Stock

With the colder weather and the cold and flu season fast approaching, the desire for soups and sauces will soon be around the corner. I like to start many soups and sauces off with a good chicken stock or broth. I usually make chicken stock as it is derived from the carcass or bones of the chicken which provides high amount of protein and a rich flavor to this key soup starter. Once you have a good amount of chicken bones, it is up to you which vegetables and herbs you wish to add. There is no set guide to making a chicken stock outside of chicken bones and water. I usually opt for the traditional vegetables of carrots, celery, and onion, and also use up anything available in the vegetable drawer or garden, whether adding tomatoes, garlic, or parsley.

Simple Chicken Stock
4 lbs Chicken wings, necks, backs, or legs
2 Large Carrots, Chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 bunch parsley
¼ teaspoon peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1.Place vegetables and seasonings into large stockpot.
2.Place chicken bones on top.
3.Cover meat and vegetables with 3 quarts of water and slowly bring to a boil
4.Reduce heat setting to simmer and skim off foam.
5.Simmer stock for about three hours uncovered and skim when necessary.
6.Turn off heat and remove chicken bones and vegetables.
7.When stock has cooled down a bit, strain stock into smaller container removing all small particles. (For more refined stock consider straining with a cheese cloth).
8.Refrigerate stock or freeze in ice cube trays for future sauce starter.

Chicken Stock is ultra easy to prepare. Many of us like to take the short cut and get the commercially prepared consommé or broth to save us the hassle of watching a pot over the stove for four hours. I see no problem with that, but a homemade stock is a great way to use up extra chicken bones or remaining carcasses from other chicken meals. The stock has many uses for future meals whether preparing white sauces, rice or risotto dishes, and even sautéing vegetables. The stock also serves as an excellent chicken with noodle or wild rice soup base. Don’t underestimate the magical healing powers of homemade chicken stock!

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