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Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 06:56 am

Chicken stock


This is a method rather than a specific recipe. Stock can be made with whole chickens or chicken parts – even the parts not normally eaten, such as wing tips and necks. It can be made from the bones when the meat, either cooked or raw, has been removed. Stock made from roasted chicken or chicken bones is called brown stock; when the chicken or bones are put in the pot uncooked, the resulting product is lighter in color and called white stock. The aromatic vegetables and spices used in making stock may be varied according to what’s available, what the stock will be used for, and personal taste. Vegetable trimmings – the root ends of onions, small leafy stalks of celery, leek tops, tiny garlic cloves in the middle of a head of garlic, parsley stems – are great.

 Never add salt when making stock! If the stock is reduced or salty ingredients are part of a recipe calling for stock, the end product may be ruined. 

  • Chicken
  • Suggested aromatics: onions, leeks, celery, parsley, carrots, garlic cloves, unpeeled bay leaves, whole peppercorns, whole cloves, leaf thyme (dried or fresh)

If making brown stock, roast the chicken (whole, parts, bones or trimmings) in a 400 oven until a rich brown color. Put the chicken into large pot or slow cooker. Place roasting pan over high heat, add 2 to 4 cups of water and deglaze the pan (stirring up all the browned bits on the bottom). Add to pot. Add the aromatics.

Cover with water. Bring to a bare simmer. If using uncooked chicken, put it in the pot and proceed as above, periodically skimming off the sediment that comes to the surface. Keep at a bare simmer – a lazy bubble. Do not allow stock to boil! Boiling emulsifies sediment and fat into the liquid, resulting in a cloudy stock.

For one chicken or chicken carcass, use some or all of the following: one carrot, one medium onion, one leek or leek top, one or two small stalks of celery, a few parsley stems, four to six unpeeled garlic cloves, one bay leaf, a teaspoon of peppercorns, one or two whole cloves, and a teaspoon of thyme. Add approximately one gallon of water. Simmer for at least two hours. If you’re using chicken with meat, remove the chicken after 45 minutes, let it cool enough to handle, then remove the meat return the bones and skin to the pot, setting the meat aside.

When the stock is finished, strain out the solids and then pour the liquid through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Then either put the stock into a fat separator, allow it to stand a few minutes, and pour off the stock or rapidly chill it by placing the pot in a sink of cold water, stirring the stock frequently and changing the water in the sink when it becomes warm.

When the stock is cool, refrigerate it until the fat (which will have come to the top) has hardened, and remove it. There are several ways to freeze stock – many people use ice-cube trays or small plastic containers. I like to put quarts of stock into gallon-size resealable plastic bags and squeeze out the air. They lie flat in the freezer, and they’re stackable.

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