Chicken Stock

Chicken Stock

2-3 lbs of chicken bones and scraps
or 1 whole chicken
3.5 qt of water or enough water to cover bones
1 onion
1 large carrot
1/2 stalk of celery
Cut all vegetables in 2 inch pieces
2 bay leaves
A hand full of parsley including stems
3-4 sprigs of thyme
1 Tbsp salt

Equipment needed:
4-5 qt stainless steel or enameled cast iron such as Le Creuset
Cutting board, Chef Knife, Peeler, Strainer, Cheesecloth, Ladle

Makes about 3 qt of stock

A cook’s best friend is definitely the stock whether it is made from chicken, beef, or fish. It is a fundamental recipe used in the professional kitchen. It always elevates the taste of your recipes, due to its unmistakable flavor. Not to mention that it will make your life a lot easier. It is very simple to cook a stock and the process is always the same regardless of what type of meat, game or poultry is used. If you don’t have enough bones as described above, substitute it by using a whole chicken, which you could use later for a chicken fricassee. Important is that cold water is used to start the chicken stock, that principle remains the same for other stocks whether it is beef or fish. Why cold water? The bones and the remaining meat on the bones will release its flavor into the water where as hot water seals the meat and fewer flavors are released. The vegetables used in this stock are called mirepoix, which consist of chopped onions, carrots and celery. When I cook at home I try to prepare more stock than I need for the day so I can use it the next day.

Adding mirepoix to the chicken broth

The herbs used for this stock are called bouquet garni and usually consist of parsley, thyme and bay leaves. Depending on the application rosemary or sage and other herbs can be added.

Tip: If you plan to serve your stock as a standalone dish such as a clear chicken soup substitute the chopped onions with one or two charred onions. Do this by cutting a whole onion in half and placing it in a pan without oil on medium heat until the onion is charred. This will give your soup golden color. If you rather like  a brown chicken stock you have to roast or saute the bones first, then proceed as described below.

Cooking Instructions:
The bones can be chopped in 2-3 inch pieces and washed under running water. In addition the bones and scraps can be cleaned with salt and lemon as it is a tradition in warmer climates such as the Caribbean. Important is that no more blood is running out of the bones, that is in particular important when cooking fish bouillon. Place the bones into the pot with the required amount of water and bring to a simmer on low to medium heat. The lower the heat the more flavor is being released into the stock, the longer it will take to finish, however the flavor will be better. Don’t be afraid to speed up the process by increasing the heat, you’ll still get a good stock. Once the chicken stock comes to a simmer use a ladle to skim the foam that builds up at the surface. Then add all vegetables and flavorings including the roasted onion.  Let it simmer for about 2 hours and replenish the evaporated water. Finally, taste the broth and season to your liking. Use a strainer to separate the stock from the bones and flavorings. Chicken Broth

You may use your stock immediately to further cooking or strain it again through a cheesecloth if you would like to have a very clear broth. Once the stock has cooled place it in a refrigerator and chill over night. Discard the hardened fat, which is floating at the top o the stock. In most cases it is a big chunk of white looking chicken fat that is easy to lift off. A great stock looks similar to jelly and will become completely liquid when reheated. Use your stock to refine sauces, clear and cream soups, risotto, fricassees, stews and much more.

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