Homemade chicken stock is one of those things that is just so easy and so much better than store bought, that once you make it, you'll never look back.
Stock is traditionally prepared by simply simmering meat bones in water. Vegetables, herbs, and spices are often added for flavor. The key to stock is using bones that have been roasted, in an oven or even on a barbeque. I alternate from simmering stock on the stove top or using my slow cooker. Both produce excellent results.
Stock is the perfect way to use up a roasted chicken carcass and vegetable ends. I keep gallon size zip lock bags in my freezer, and I'll throw a roasted chicken in one after we've eaten most of the meat off of it. I keep another one for vegetable odds and ends. Half an onion, celery leaves, the end of leeks, all go into the bag. Once I have a bag full, I make up a pot of stock. I freeze my stock in ice cube trays and they it's always ready if I need a little or a lot.
Though a bit time consuming, this is an easy recipe that you can throw together any evening or weekend.
1 roasted chicken carcass, some meat still on the bones
2 carrots, roughly chopped
4 stalks of celery, roughly chopped
1-2 onions, quartered (you don't even have to peel them)
4-6 garlic cloves, unpeeled
2 sprigs of rosemary
2 sprigs of thyme
5 sprigs of Italian parsley
2 bay leaves
Method1: Place the chicken carcass in a large, deep pot. Cover with cold water. Add the vegetables. If you'd like, tie the herbs together with kitchen twine, it makes for easier straining but is not necessary. Add the herbs to the pot. Bring the stock to a boil and immediately reduce to a low simmer. Simmer for 3-4 hours on stove top. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain stock through a fine sieve. Refrigerate (1 week ) or freeze (6 months).
Method 2: Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and cover with cold water (see note above on herbs). Cook on low for 6 hours.Remove from heat and let cool. Strain stock through a fine sieve. Refrigerate (1 week ) or freeze (6 months).
This is a new series of posts that will focus on the basics of cooking.