Monday, May 11, 2009

Chicken Stock (aka cleaning out the fridge/freezer)

I love filling a big pot with odds and ends from my freezer and vegetable drawer, adding water, and VOILA - i get homemade stock!

My grandmother, Sye, was famous for her "everything" soup. She didn't make homemade stock - but made this great soup out of things that she had set aside instead of throwing out. The juice from a can of peas, the bones and scraps of meat from dinner - all of it went into a container that went into the freezer. When it was full - it was time to make soup!

So - i took this "pack-rat" lesson and apply it to my stock today. The only part of today's stock that came from a recent grocery trip was the onion and the leek (both due to be used, so not that recent).

The stock recipe today included:
3 chicken carcsses (2 from a rotissery session, one from the smoker)
1 lamb leg bone (brought home from dinner at the grandparents')
2 stalks of celery (frozen - waiting for a home)
1 yellow onion quartered
1 leek sliced - green and white parts
3/4 container button mushrooms
3 garlic cloves
1 anise star
juniper berries
water to fill pot
* any veggies you have on hand - especially root varieties should go in

Simmer on low heat for at least 4 hours. Add more water if you need to - skim fat off of the top as you see fit.

My favorite tricks
Choice pot: I like using my monster pasta pot with the insert. That way - when it is done, i can pull the insert - with all of the cooked and dead bones/veggies and throw right into a bag in the garbage.
Temp: DO NOT LET THIS BOIL. Boiling causes the stock to turn cloudy and gelatenous when cold. It still is OK to use if it does this - just don't let the company see you plop it out of the container and into your risotto.
Storing: I love to fill up snack-sized ziplocks with stock and freezing it. If you want to be anal and measure it before freezing - it will make it more accurate when you want to use it later.
Uses: I like using homemade stock whenever possible. The chickens are always flavored the way we like it - with flavors that we tend to use often, so it blends well with our cooking later. Risotto, soup, sauces, glazes, anything that calls for stock!

** what do you like to put in your stock to make it unique? Any tips you've learned that help make your stock turn out everytime?


Ginger said...

Scate I have to get better at saving my stuff for this! Your chicken stock looks incredible and I like all the tips that you gave. Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

This stock sounds like it would have some amazing flavors with all these ingredients! Excellent!

Anonymous said...

I do the same thing wit he freezer bag. Not pea juice and meat scraps, but carrot tops and bits on onion? sure!

Donna-FFW said...

Oh what great ideas.. no excuse for not making homemade stock now!

Tangled Noodle said...

You are too good! Cleaning out the fridge/freezer AND making awesome stock. I'd probably have to buy this ingredients for this as whatever is in the fridge is long past the point of being edible!