April 19, 2014

Chicken Stock




    Chicken stock is a staple in my house.  It is a base for flavorful gravies, the beginning point of soup, an all around flavor booster, and pan deglazer.  For many years I purchased canned broth but I always needed more.  At one point, after stripping as much of the meat off a roasted chicken as my patience would allow, and then throwing the carcass away, I looked at those sad bones in the trash, I wondered if they had something left to give and decided I would make a stock.  I had previously tried unsuccessfully to make a turkey stock from the Thanksgiving turkey carcass but it was so weak in flavor that I gave up on stock making thinking that it wasn't as good as the canned variety until I had to find a use for my weekly roasted chicken.  If I don’t make a stock right away, I put the carcass in the freezer and make it as time permits.  I love the gelatinous quality of the chilled stock knowing that the marrow from the bones has infused the stock with nutrients and minerals (versus thin bodied canned broth).
    The first time I witnessed gelatinous broth was the year my father raised chickens for meat and his mom, my Slovakian granny, came to help him with his butchering and she put a big pot on the stove and boiled up the chicken feet.  The soup was solid after being refrigerated.  I wish I had her recipe for that soup that was thick with gelatin, though, at the time, I would not eat it being a picky and snooty teenager, but now I wish the old world recipe was not lost.  As a family, we did not need to survive on nutrient rich soups any longer.  It was and now the time of the grocery store and plenty.  I find it interesting mass food production is yielding food that is nutrient depleted in both the chemical processing and in the genetically engineered foods.  I take heart in my homemade broth knowing that I am not wasting and in some small way honoring the animal and my ancestors who knew how to survive.

Part 2 of the Chicken that Keeps on Giving series

Chicken Stock 
from a roasted chicken carcass

1 five pound chicken carcass or 2 smaller chicken carcasses
2 quarts of water or enough water to cover chicken
1 carrot cut into chunks
1 stalk of celery cut into chunks
1 medium onion quartered
2 bay leaves

Remove skin and discard, and remove remaining meat and set aside for soup, chicken salad, chicken pot pie, etc. (of course this depends on how much chicken was served at your chicken dinner).
In a stock pot or Dutch oven, place chicken carcass skin and the rest of the ingredients, cover with water.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 1- 2 hours until the carcass breaks up easily.
Strain broth through a fine mesh strainer. 
If you like it extra clear, line your strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth. 

Portion off for freezing or use for a soup.

Golden Girls


chickens in the perennial garden

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