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Friday, February 23, 2007

Flavorama

Okay, so I ran out of homemade chicken stock several days ago, and I needed to make a batch to restock the freezer. There aren't very many ingredients, and it's very easy--I don't know why anyone would ever buy canned chicken broth. So, here's how I did it this time (it turned out perfectly!):
3 carcasses (no meat, skin or limbs) from 3 supermarket roast chickens
mirepoix of chopped carrots (3 lg), onion (3 med) and celery (middle of one bunch)
herbs and spices (bay leaves, fresh thyme, whole black peppercorns)
Secret Ingredient (optional)

Heat a very small amount of vegetable oil (a teaspoon or two) in a large pot (I use an 8-qt "everything pot" I got at Williams-Sonoma a million years ago for making a stock from 3 carcasses; I've used my 16-qt stockpot for five or six carcasses). Brown carcasses on all sides, adjusting temperature so fond (that brown stuff building up on the bottom of the pan) doesn't burn. When carcasses are browned, set them aside.

Add chopped onions to pan, and saute until they are starting to wilt, scraping the bottom of the pan to remove fond (the moisture from the onions should ease this process along nicely). Add carrots and celery and continue to cook until they are softening and the fond is once again building up on the bottom of the pan.

Add the herbs and spices to the sweated veggies and cook, stirring, until they start to smell good.

Then add the Secret Ingredient, and scrape up all the brown bits of fond that have collected on the bottom.

Put carcasses back in the pot, barely cover with water, and bring to a very slow simmer. It's very important to keep it at a very low simmer, because if it boils hard the bones will start to break down and the stock will be cloudy and taste not as good. Simmer for several hours, then remove from heat and let cool until just warm.

When the stock has cooled enough that you won't get a terrible burn if it sloshes on you, strain out all solids and put in the refrigerator for a day or two (I put it in a 1-gallon Rubbermaid pitcher, for ease in later grease removal and in pouring the stock into individual freezing containers).

After a day or two, remove the congealed yellow chicken fat from the top of the chilled stock with a slotted spoon. Then divide and freeze (I reuse old sour cream containers, and fill them up half-full, for individual frozen portions of 1 C stock--this is flavorful and quite concentrated, so for recipe purposes that 1 C will make 1 qt of broth).

Et voilà! Risotto away, dear readers.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Mary Ellen said...

Mmmm. I have just enough chicken carcasses to make a new batch of stock using your recipe and secret ingredient!

February 25, 2007 at 12:46 AM  
Blogger janeannechovy said...

Go for it! And please, do report back.

February 25, 2007 at 12:58 PM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

Will do. Hoping the gourmet HEB carries Henry W. I'm amazed at the variances between supermarkets in the same chain.

February 26, 2007 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger janeannechovy said...

I don't know if you're likely to find it in your neck of the woods. I'm sure you can find an acceptable substitute, but I would only be able to guess at what it would be. MWR?

February 26, 2007 at 12:06 PM  
Blogger Mary Ellen said...

Search of HEB's liquor section: no Weinhart's.

Would any up market dark beer do? I have not a clue. Do you?

March 1, 2007 at 8:58 PM  

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