Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Homemade Chicken Stock

I have a thing about letting food go to waste. I honestly go a little crazy about this. We end up eating A LOT of leftovers (which luckily my husband is ok with) and I'm always trying to find new ways of using up what we have. We recently bought a couple of pre-cooked rotisserie chickens for a quick dinner one night, and since these are kind of expensive, I wanted to make sure I got the most out of my money. One way to do this is to make homemade chicken stock! It's easy, cheap, and tastes so much better than the boxed stuff. You can use it immediately or freeze it so you'll always have it when you need it. Also, this would be a great way to make turkey stock too. 

Homemade Chicken Stock
Servings: 11 to 12 cups

1 chicken carcass (from leftover rotisserie chicken or roasted chicken, better if a little meat is left on)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into 4 pieces
2 medium yellow onions or 1 large, peeled and quartered
2 celery stalks, chopped into 3 pieces (I use the stalks from the center since we don't eat those)
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
6 fresh parsley sprigs
2 unpeeled garlic cloves
2 whole cloves
2 tsp. kosher salt

Place the chicken carcass, carrots, onions, and celery in a large stockpot and add enough cold water to cover by about an inch. Tie the thyme sprigs, bay leaf, and parsley sprigs together using kitchen twine or a cheesecloth, and add it to the pot. Add the garlic, cloves, and salt.

Partially cover and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Do not boil. Reduce the heat to low or med-low and gently simmer for 4-5 hours, adding more water as necessary to keep the carcass covered. When the stock is done, remove the large pieces with tongs and discard. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl (this may need to be repeated in order to remove all the debris). Skim off the fat with a spoon  or gently skim the top with a paper towel. Season with salt and pepper to taste. (Alternatively, refrigerate the stock overnight and then remove the congealed fat from the top.) 

Use the stock immediately or transfer to plastic containers/bags and freeze. (I like to freeze in both 4 cup and 2 cup portions). 

Source: adapted from Julia Child and Mastering the Art of French Cooking

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