There are as many variations on chicken stock as there are varieties of chickens in a hen yard. Chicken stock is such an important staple in my kitchen, I start to panic when I have less than a dozen containers in the freezer. What else would you do with a carcass from a roast chicken dinner?
Here is my variation, I hope you try it, like it and stock up!
A basic ratio to know: 1 chicken to 2 quarts (8 cups) of water- this is a guideline only.
1 roast chicken carcass, after you enjoyed a chicken dinner and sandwiches, strip the bigger pieces of meat off and save for chicken soup.
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 large onions, washed and scrub the root end. Peel the skin but Keep the skin!! Chop the onion into small chunks
2 carrots, washed, chopped into smallish chunks
Celery tops from 1 bunch of celery plus one full rib, chopped into smallish chunks
Handful of flat leaf parsley, including stems, chopped
2 Bay leaves
1 piece of KOMBU (seaweed) * see note below
some peppercorns or ground pepper
2 quarts COLD water (about)
If you do not have all of the above vegetables, do not sweat it. Go with what you have, it will be delicious.
Heat olive oil in stock pot.
Toss in onions, onion skins, carrots and celery. Saute, stirring occasionally until your nose starts to tingle at the aroma, maybe 3 – 5 minutes.
(OR roast all your vegetables at 400 for half an hour)
While vegetables are sauteing, bust up your chicken carcass into its anatomical parts. (chicken wings are little dynamos in stock, full of flavor and collagen)
Stir vegetables and add chicken bones, bay leaves, parsley, onion skins and KOMBU
Cover everything with COLD water by a couple inches or so.
Uncovered, bring pot to an enthusiastic simmer, just before it boils.
Turn heat DOWN to a gentle simmer.
You do NOT want to boil your stock. This is what makes it cloudy; all the fat sort of emulsifies with the water and makes it cloudy. If this happens your stock will taste okay and may coat your mouth with a fatty film. It will be delicious for cooking rice or anything else. If you don’t mind the fatty feel and taste, then it’s all good.
Keep uncovered while simmering.
Simmer for about 10 – 15 hours. Some people swear it has to simmer for days to extract all the nutritional collagen and some people swear if it’s cooked that long it actually cooks out all the collagen. You choose. I simmer my stock overnight and strain sometime the next day when I remember, so usually 15 hours or so.
You can simmer it for a couple hours and you will have a perfectly fine and delicious stock.
Strain through fine strainer or cheesecloth.
If you want to lose the fat,or you are after a more clear stock, let your pot of stock sit in fridge overnight , skim off the risen and slightly hardened fat.
You may notice I did not include salt.You can add salt when you use your stock in yoru recipes.
You can put all the strained vegetables into a food processor, run until smooth and add this to some of your strained stock to make a mighty tasty gravy. Bring on the mashed potatoes!
- Why onion skins, you may ask. They add of flavor, most importantly they add a deep caramel color.
- What does KOMBU add you may ask. It adds Umami, the fifth taste after salt, sweet, sour, bitter. Some say it is a savory, meaty or rich sense. I lean towards the richness it adds to stock and some soups.