Sunday, April 17, 2011

Take stock…err I mean MAKE Stock

I know very well that every grocery store now sells a stunning array of broths and stocks in nice cartons on the shelf. These are wonderful, don’t get me wrong. I use them. They are especially good if you only need a little bit of stock, or you don’t need the flavor of the stock to be the shining star of the dish, or you have neglected to make stock lately or just used up your last bit in the freezer. Stock is always a better choice than Broth…the flavor is much better. The Beef stock in a carton is pretty decent but the chicken stocks you get in a carton are always sub-par.  Chicken stock is super easy to make and it freezes really well.  You can freeze it in Ziploc Freezer Bags,  your favorite Tupperware, or freeze it in an icecube tray (than pop out the ‘cubes’ and throw them in a Ziploc…great for when you only need a little bit of stock for a sauce)
You can make Beef, Chicken, Vegetable or Fish Stock.  The process for all is pretty much the same…add everything to a big pot, add water, simmer simmer simmer….than strain and eat or freeze.
I will give you good bases for a chicken stock and a vegetable stock.  You can add or change up the ingredients to suit what you have and what you like. Also if you are going to make stock…make a HUGE batch…like I said it freezes really well.  Your idea of Chicken noodle soup made with homemade stock will forever be changed!  This is a great Lazy Sunday project...throw it on and relax...its great when you can make something THIS good with so little effort...
oh, and your house will smell divine!
Chicken Stock
Chicken legs, thighs, backs, bones, and/or wings (about 5-6 pounds)
3 Large onions paper skin peeled off and quartered
6 large carrots peeled cut in half
8 stalks celery with leaves cut in half
5 sprig fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1 whole clove garlic peeled
8 peppercorns
16 cups water

Place chicken, vegetables, and herbs and spices in a huge stockpot. Add water and cook on high heat until you begin to see bubbles break through the surface of the liquid. Turn heat down to medium low so that stock maintains low, gentle simmer. After a little while you will see a “scum” form on the top of the water. Skim this scum from the stock with a spoon or mesh strainer several times during the first hour of cooking and then as needed. Add hot water as needed to keep bones and vegetables submerged. Simmer uncovered for 6 to 8 hours.
Strain stock through a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth into another large stockpot or heatproof container discarding the solids. Cool immediately to below 40 degrees. Place in refrigerator overnight. Remove solid fat from surface of liquid in the morning and store in container with lid in refrigerator for 2 to 3 days or in freezer.

Veggie Stock - (feel free to add any of your gardens bounty to this stock..squash, tomatoes, herbs, whatever…it will just be that more flavorful)
4 cloves garlic peeled
2 large onions peeled and quartered
2 leeks washed and chopped
5 ribs of celery with leaves cut in half
6 carrots peeled and cut in half
3 parsnips (or turnips) peeled and cut in thirds
1 bulb fennel cut in quarters
1 sprig of thyme
1 sprig of rosemary
2 bay leaves
8 whole peppercorns
2 tbl olive oil
water
In a large stockpot heat the olive oil until hot. Add onions, leeks, parsnips, fennel, and carrots…sauté 6 minutes then add garlic. Saute 4-5 more minutes... Pour in the water (enough to cover) and other ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and skim and discard any scum from the top. Simmer, uncovered, at least 2 hours. Add water to keep veggies covered.  Strain and store in the refrigerator up to a week or freeze.

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