Chicken Stock….the most satisfying basic ingredient I can think of. Rich, luxurious, brilliant. The easiest and most versatile base you will ever make…..Don‘t be nervous…its also very forgiving. You’ll never want to use a bullion cube ever again.
Lets Talk Chicken Stock and Broth. I bet your thinking what’s the difference? Well here it is and very simply; The major distinction between broths and stocks is that broths are intended to be served as is, whereas stocks are used in the production of other dishes.” Therefore, Broths have all their seasonings. Stock is “Nude or Neutral” no salt, no pepper and No additives to make it a signature flavor.
Stocks are a great ingredient to always have on hand. They can perk up a lot of recipes. Even when my freezer is bare, you will always find either containers of stock or stock cubes! Stock reduced by half and then frozen in single cubes…my addiction!!!
The moment I fabricate some chicken, the raw bones and bits of skin go into the freezer. The bits of carrot, onion, and parsley will end up in the freezer too….no waste in this kitchen and boy that’s a fun fact of arrogance for this Chef!
Gardeners stay away from my pile of veg! It ain’t for the compost pile, its for my stock.
You can save a lot of fat and calories by using stock for sautéing instead of oils or fat. You can also add lots of flavor to everyday foods (such as rice) by substituting stock for water in cooking. And not to be forgotten, the meat taken from the expended bones makes fantastic chicken Salad. Just imagine the flavor of that meat after simmering in its own juices….YUM…
So, now that I’ve hooked you. I’m not going to give you the usual recipe. Forget the strict, rigid, binding list and directions. Shake off your fear of flying. Let me share the “Method and Ratios” of Chicken Stock to free your mind. Chicken Stock with Grandma in Mind.
2 pounds of Chicken Wings and necks….why chicken wings you say? Cheap and fuller flavor concentrated in the bones, because there are so many of them. Believe me, if you aren’t a wing person, try freezing them with the necks for later use.
Mirepoix. The official name for a sainted trio of flavoring. Onions, Carrots, Celery. Now here is the simple ratio that will free your mind! 2:1:1 If you use 1 onion, you will chop carrots and celery by half the bulk amount. So look at your chopped onion and then take half of that away. This visually is the amount of the other two, each.
So how much Mirepoix for your stock? The Ratio is 10 wings (or big bones) to 1 helping of Mirepoix. 10:1. That means 10 wings to 1 onion and ½ each the carrot and celery. Easy. Our Grandmas were brilliant in their simplicity!!!
So the rest of the ingredients for great stock would be, 2 bay leaves, about 2 smashed garlic cloves (flat end of your knife), one bunch of parsley, one sprig of thyme, 10 cracked peppercorns (flat end of your knife). You can either put this in some cheese cloth or….I just toss it in. I’m going to be straining anyway.
Enough water that will cover your ingredients with a half inch to spare in the pot. Bring to just boiling and immediately lower to simmer or what we chefs call a slow bubble. A few bubbles at a time. This way, you won’t boil off the water to soon or dissolve calcium from the bones which clouds the stock. When your wings fall apart and your veg are very soft. Its done.
Strain by putting scoops of meat and veg into a strainer and pressing down. Don’t lose all that great flavor! Wa La! That is great stock. Too easy for words. Made on a morning while you are doing some dusting or while you are making your dinner!
Any Questions or clarifications?
OK! Sandy, thanks for pointing out that I left out skimming and degreasing. Occasionally skim the grey matter off. As for the Fat. I skim fat at the end. as long as there is still slow bubble, you can pool the fat and then skim most of it. OR….if you aren’t going to use the stock right away. Poor into containers, cool it down quickly in an ice water bath and then chill over night. the next day before you freeze, cut off the congealed fat. .