Friday, February 26, 2010

Roast Chicken & a TON of Chicken Stock: Part 2- The Stock

This pretty gal is gonna make us a ton of chicken stock, therefore making many many dishes to follow much much more flavorful. 

I use chicken or vegetable stock (I'll show you how I make that as soon as I run out of chicken stock)for all kinds of things in my kitchen. 

Most often I use it in this:
Always as a base in my homemade soups
To cook pasta and plain or spanish rice 
To make pilaf 
 To thin sauces
To make gravy

Pretty much any savory cooking that you'd add water to, I use stock instead. 

Alright, this takes a while but it's SO worth it, I promise. 

You'll need:

all the cooked bits, juices, veggies, etc. left from your roast chicken
the neck and offal
2 -3 onions- not peeled, quartered
1/2lb baby carrots
1/2 bunch of celery stalks leaves included, broken into medium pieces 
8 cloves garlic- not peeled, smashed a bit
parsley stems from one whole bunch and some of the leaves
black pepper
white pepper
onion powder- I know this is a bit redundant, but to me, it's a totally different flavor that fresh onion
Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute or Classic Mrs. Dash
generous amount of salt
35-40 cups of warm water (this is an estimate)

Mix everything but the seasonings and water in a large bowl. 

Divide into the pots you plan to use to make your stock. Or just use a BIG stock pot. I don't have a huge stock pot, so I use my 3 largest pots seen here:

This is not an exact measurement kind of thing. You want about 2-3inches of stuff in the bottom of each of your pots. Just be sure to divide the chicken bones and bits evenly between the bowls. 

Now, fill your pots with warm water, about an inch from the top of the pot. 

Season with your dry seasonings. Be very generous. For my large pot, I start with 1tbsp of onion, oregano, basil, 21 seasoning, and salt and 2tsp of the peppers and paprika. You are building flavor here and we want it to be delicious! Plus, my method involves stretching this chicken for as much flavor as I can get out of it. We need to help it out with a ton of veggies, seasoning, and to be honest, quite a bit of salt. 

Bring to a boil. Reduce to a nice simmer. 

Once the veggies are soft, give the broth a taste. Season it up a little more.

Simmer until the celery and parsley have turned that horrible, I mean MARVELOUS!, green-grey color. You want to cook this stuff to death. We are, after all, trying to suck every bit of flavor out of this stuff, right?

Turn off the burners, cover, and let it steep for about 20-30 minutes. It will stay HOT HOT HOT for a while. 

Strain the bits out and put the stock into 2 big bowls. This is what my garbage bowl of boiled stock bits looked like after I had strained everything. Yuck!

We need to cool the stock off as quickly as possible, so fill 2 large plastic freezer bags with ice, seal, and place one in each of the bowls. When the ice is melted, take the bags out and put the bowls in the fridge. 

Chill the stock until the fat has risen to the top and hardened up. Remove it from the top with a slotted spoon or your fingers. Save the fat if you'd like to make matzo ball soup or add some extra umph to your dumplings (that's what I'm going to do). By the way, the chicken fat is sometimes called schmaltz, but it's debatable if this method actually creates schmaltz.You can decide. I call it schmaltz. It sounds fancier than chicken fat.  

Divide the stock into freezer bags. I do it in 2 cup serving sizes. It's makes less waste for me that way. 

I realize that this is not as much a recipe as it's a "method."
If you're confused, or if I ever miss something in the steps, just ask me to help.