Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Homemade Chicken Stock

Making homemade chicken stock is by far the easiest way for you to kick up your cooking. Store bought stock is fine but when it's this easy to make and for the amount of flavour it imparts to your dishes, it's so worth it. We eat a lot of chicken in our house so when we go to the butcher we just buy whole chickens and cut them up ourselves. This works out perfectly because I just end up freezing the carcass so I can use it to make chicken stock anytime I want. Alternately, in the winter I make roast chicken all the time so after the meat is all carved I also put the bones in the freezer.

Either way, make lots of stock and freeze it so you always have it on hand. James Barber was the host of one of my favorite old cooking shows from way back called the Urban Peasant and he had a great chicken stock tip. Pour cooled stock into ice cube trays and then freeze so you can just pop a few cubes out as needed, how clever of Mr Barber, a true visionary.

leftover bones from one chicken
2 carrots, cut into large chunks
3 celery stalks, cut into large chunks
1 large white onions, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, smashed
1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
couple sprigs thyme and rosemary
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Place all ingredients in a large stockpot. Pour in only enough cold water to cover and allow it to come to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and gently simmer partially covered for about 2 hours. As it cooks, skim any impurities that rise to the surface; add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering and stir occasionally. After about 2 hours. remove the pot from heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into another pot to remove the chicken and vegetable solids. Place the strained stock in a covered container and allow to chill in the refrigerator overnight. Remove the stock from the fridge and with a slotted spoon, skim off the fat that has solidified overnight. Refrigerate the stock for up to one week or freeze for 3 months.

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