[Fair warning: this stock is not for the faint of heart! Graphic chicken bits ahead. Deliciously carnivorous discretion is advised.]
I did it!
I made my very first chicken broth, with my own two hands in my own little kitchen. I’ve been waiting for this day for quite some time. I’d been putting it off not out of intimidation or my own hesitation, but necessity. We didn’t even have a kitchen, much less a stove to prepare such things, for quite some time.
But, we’ve got our tiny cottage-sized gas oven range now, and I’ve been collecting bones from good chickens in preparation for making this all-important staple of a traditional foodie’s kitchen.
Go Big or Go Home.
I had a couple chicken carcasses from roasting whole birds, but I wasn’t about to stop there. I had zero reservations about getting down and dirty with this stock.
Heads?? — beaks, eyes and all?!
In they went.
I had a lovely assortment of these various parts from healthy, pastured chickens, given to me from a farmer at the market. They had been waiting in the freezer for this day.
I threw it all in the pot:
- Two carcasses stripped of their meat/bones from the whole bird
- A few whole heads/necks
- Some feet
- Half an onion, cut into chunks
- Two carrots, snapped into big pieces
- A few pieces of celery
- A couple garlic cloves
- Couple tablespoons vinegar
- A gallon of filtered water (that’d be 4 quart-sized mason jars, if you had to google it like I did to be sure. You’re welcome.)
I let it sit out for about an hour, since the chicken parts were frozen, and since the recipe from Nourishing Traditions calls for the mixture to stand for at least 30 minutes before cooking. I then brought it to a boil, and tried removing the “scum” I was supposed to be watching out for — but I don’t think there really was any. It just looked like bits from the chicken carcasses floating to the top.
Then I turned the heat down to let it simmer. On the lowest setting, however, our tiny gas range still packs a punch. The whole thing continued to boil. So, I decided to put it all in the oven and set it on a low temperature that would allow it to properly simmer for the rest of the day, and overnight.
Once the cottage started to get a little too hot the next morning with the oven still on, I decided to take it out. My stock had been brewing for about 21 hours. You’re supposed to let it cook for at least 6, so I figured this was still a decent amount of time. Oh, and I was supposed to put some parsley in the stock during the last 10 minutes for flavor — but forgot. Oops!
Storing my stock
I removed some of the veggies and chicken parts with a slotted spoon, then started pouring the liquid through a coffee filter in a bowl to filter it.
This would probably be much easier with a regular colander lined with some cheesecloth perhaps. Then, I poured it all into a large glass jar to cool.
Once it was near room temperature, I put it into the fridge, expecting the fat to congeal at the top to be scraped off and used for cooking. (Like I would throw away perfectly good fat!!) But, my stock didn’t do this. It was all still liquidy! And wasn’t gelatinous, despite having added several collagen-filled feet in there. Humph.
So, I got over that, and then I took a tip from Cheeseslave and poured out the stock into ice cube trays. This way, they are pre-measured in one-ounce cubes to be used in your cooking. I popped out the frozen stock cubes and put them in a ziplock bag for storage in the freezer. Easy!
Now I can use my cubes of stock for cooking rice, making soups, or in any recipes that call for stock — without resorting to that nasty MSG-laden canned stuff from the store!
So, what do you guys think — did I do okay? What was your first experience making stock like? Or if you haven’t tried this yet, are you feeling up for the task? (You don’t necessarily have to use scary chicken heads and feet, you know. ;))
[This post is being shared with Simple Lives Thursday!]