Saturday, 4 January 2014

Home Made Stock

Home Made Stock


Your Stock base (See the above descriptions*)
6 Cups water
3 Stalks celery
1 Carrot
1 Onion
1 Shallot
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Tablespoon peppercorns
2 Teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon Parsley
1 Tablespoon Sage
1 Tablespoon Rosemary
1 Tablespoon Thyme
3 Bay leaves


Roughly chop the celery, carrot, onion, shallot, and garlic. If you are using fresh herbs, also give them a rough chop. Place your Stock Base in a large pot, that has a lid, add the water, herbs seasonings, and chopped vegetables. Turn pot to a low-medium heat level and over with the lid. Keep an eye on the stock, you do not want it to ever come to a boil, just a very very gentle simmer.

Let the stock gently simmer for about 60-90 minutes. If you used raw chicken in your stock base, ensure that the chicken has at least fully cooked before removing the stock from the heat. If your stock has a bright yellow clear layer on top, use a large spoon to scoop that out. It's pure chicken fat and while a little bit is good, a lot is not.

Also if you are making stock with something large, like everything left over from a turkey dinner, it might take longer to get it to break down all the way. Basically just keep gently simmering until it basically falls apart.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl, allow to cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to air tight containers to store. Will keep for about 2-3 days in a cold fridge for 2 months in a freezer. After that the freezer-burn demons set in too badly to use it any longer.



Since it is winter and we will all be needing lots of soup to keep us warm and healthy, how about I share a recipe for making your own chicken soup stock! Plus a vegetable stock, because while I hope to eat a variety of interesting game-meat in the next year; I think of those who want to leave more for me eat

Now there are several ways one can go about making their own chicken stock, in my head anyways. Below I will describe the ways I do it, each method will be known as "Stock Base"* in the recipe. Just so we are clear, I do not meat the bought chicken flavor packages. This is an all home made stock recipe!

The first stock base method, is to make a roast chicken, carve it up and hold onto all the bones and the non-palatable bits left over after eating a roast chicken. Use the leftover bits to make the chicken stock. This is how my grandmother did it. Every week after doing a roast chicken, the next day was stock-making-day. Even if she didn't have plans to use it right away, jar it up and freeze it was the motto, "If you always make stock after having a chicken then  have some on hand for when you need it" so says grandma.

Plus if we are good little grandchildren and listen to our elders, then we will also be able to impress our more modern friends with our traditional and awesome skills. Moral of the story, this is the traditional old school, save everything and use everything kind of recipe.

Next if you aren't the type of person who wants to roast a chicken, then fear not because there is a method of getting a stock base for you. Still traditional at heart but you can get either roughly 1/3-1/2 pound of chicken wings or thighs. If you get thigh meat, I would carve off most of the meat from the bone, leaving about 1/2 inch of poultry meat around the bone. This way you can use the chicken thigh meat to make something for supper one night and maybe a soup the next with the stock you will make. If you get wings, you can either use whole wing bits, or just the wing tips. But you will need a lot of wing tips, and they are very fatty so that will affect the final flavor of your stock. Everything else is the same for the recipe.

Or, if you happen to have on hand a fresh whole chicken, but really aren't in the mood to have a whole chicken you could be adventurous and cut up the chicken yourself then after you finish you will have created your stock base. It's really not that hard, all you need to have is a decent knife with a point, and kitchen shears. First remove the neck and giblet bag from the cavity, hold on to the neck and throw out the giblets. Cut off the tail, the fatty pointy bit on the backside of the cavity, and the wing tips, set aside. Use the shears to snip along either side of the back bone and set it aside. Using a sharp knife, cut the skin around the thigh, near the body of the bird, carefully cut the meat where the thigh meats the body and use the point of the knife to separate the bones, leaving you with a separated leg. Repeat for the other leg. Next I usually use the shears to snip to either side of the breast bone, leaving me with two even breast portions, with the wing-let attached, and then snip of the extra skin, and a bit towards the back of the body where it is mostly bone. Put everything snipped aside with the other parts. Now you should have two legs, and two equal breast portions, and a bunch of random bits in a bowl to the side. We will be using the random bits to make stock.

It's up to you what you use your perfectly butchered poultry legs and breast for. Maybe check out some chicken recipes?

Ok finally, if you are looking for a vegetable stock, simply make your stock base with about an extra 1/3 pound of vegetables roughly chopped. Any vegetables pretty much. So be creative with what you use, just think of the vegetables you like to eat together.  Or be like me and throw what ever vegetable you happen to have in the fridge at the time in the pot. It'll be ok.

Alright so the rules a little bit different for people making the vegetable stock. You will in an ideal world still have all the vegetables listed in the recipe, on top of the extra 1/3 pound of what ever other vegetable you have. You don't want to overwhelm the stock with just one vegetable flavor, more flavor is better flavor. 

Well I thought this was going to be an easy recipe, but I guess it was a bit more than I intended. But here we go!

PS: You can also do this in a slow-cooker over night on a low setting. Best part of a slow cooker is that it wont likely bring the stock to a boil at any point. 

PSS: Boiling doesn't ruin the stock, it just makes it cloudy and less pretty. I prefer to eat pretty things.

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