Monday, December 3, 2012

Homemade chicken stock

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am trying to make some simple everyday staples (at least in my household) from scratch. The first weekend I successfully made breadcrumbs. This week was supposed to be homemade pie crusts. I was looking forward to it, but the tried and true recipe suggested by a dear friend required a food processor. Since my cheap food processor quit on me, that will have to wait. Instead I decided to make my own chicken stock.

I ended up cooking three whole chickens (just baked them in the oven) for my freezer meals. After I carved them, I stuck anything remaining (including skin) with carrots, onions, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper. Actually, I just used the pot instead of my compost bin while I was chopping vegetables for some recipes. I just filled up the pot with enough water to cover everything and simmered about four hours. When it cooled down a bit, I strained the stock and refrigerated overnight. In the morning I was able to take a nice layer of fat off the top and was left with the delicious stock. 

About the straining…I don’t have a good strainer, so I just used our colander. It worked, but in the future I will definitely invest in a decent strainer to eliminate some of the pieces. For a first attempt it wasn’t terrible, but I would like it to be more of a clear stock that is sold commercially.

I used what I needed for my recipes and froze the remainder. Those baby food trays are coming in handy yet again! Now I have it premeasured in one ounce cubes and ready in the freezer. I did find that I needed to cut it with a bit of water for chicken noodle soup, but I was happy that I was able to stretch it even more.

I plan to start using my limp, not so fresh vegetables for vegetable stock. Although these would usually go in the compost, I still feel like I’m bringing new life to something that would normally just be disposed of. It’s so easy to throw into a big pot, add water, and simmer. 

Just like the breadcrumbs, the flavor is unbelievable compared to the prepackaged stock. Happy simmering!
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