Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe

At work, we started leasing a new building for indoor programming space. Part of this building is a former Home Economics classroom featuring six cooking stations and a demonstration station. Angels started singing when I walked into the culinary classroom on a tour of the building during the start of the lease negotiations. I immediately volunteered to take over the culinary program. This room has a million possibilities and I'm so excited to start programming it in December.

Last month, we started interviewing chefs for the new classes. As part of the chef interview, we asked the candidates to teach a cooking class to our rec staff. One of the candidates decided to teach on carving a chicken. I've never done this before and I never understood why a person would until this class. Not only is purchasing a whole chicken cheaper than just buying a pound of chicken breasts, but you get a ton more food. For each chicken purchased, two breasts, thighs, tenders, wings and legs can be carved out. In addition, the carcasses can be used to make homemade chicken stock. 

If you're interested in learning how to cut up a whole raw chicken Pampered Chef has a great YouTube video detailing how to do this. 

I'm off work this week, so I had a little extra time to do this. I'm not sure if it will always fit into my life, but purchasing a few chickens a month and spending a few hours carving and cooking stock might be worth the savings. This is one of those things that I could do to save if I was ever lucky enough to stay home full time with my kids. 

Making your own stock is very easy. Just a few simple ingredients and a large stock pot ( I actually used my large pasta pot which made straining the vegetables easier) and you're done. Here is my chicken stock recipe...
Homemade Chicken Stock

2 chicken carcasses
4 small or 2 large onions 
6 carrots
6-8 stalks of celery
4 peeled cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
herbs: oregano, parsley, thyme- add to taste ( i did a few Tbsp's of each)
salt and pepper
2 gallons of water

Quarter the onions and add to the pot. Roughly chop the carrots and celery into 2 inch pieces. You want your onions, celery and carrot ratio to be 50% onion and 25% carrot and celery. Add to stock pot.

Put remaining ingredients into the stock pot and turn heat on high until a low boil. Once boiling turn heat down to keep a slow simmer for 6-8 hours. For the first two hours, use a fine mesh strainer to skim the surface of the water every half hour. 

Strain liquid and submerge pot with just stock into an ice bath of water that is below 40 degrees to cool liquid. Store in refrigerator overnight. Strain any solid fat from stock. Store in refrigerator for up to 3 days or in a deep freezer for up to 6 months. I stored mine in 8oz portions in freezer bags. I have 27 8oz bags... now to come up with the reciepes to use it all...

Alton Brown recommends to bring to a boil for 2 minutes prior to using. 


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