23 October 2011

Making my own chicken stock (broth)

This is the project that's been on my stove since mid-afternoon, and when I mentioned it in chat, Maggie commented that she hasn't "quite gotten a handle on the whole stock-making thing".  So I offered to blog it ... although I don't have pictures of every step since this is quite impromptu.

Start with whole fryers (or roasters or broilers ... a whole chicken that's been dressed out) and cut off the frying pieces (wings, legs) and fillet off the breasts, saving the skin, neck, giblets, and the carcass after you're done cutting off the pieces.  Put into a stock pot and just cover all the parts with water, then simmer for an hour to an hour-and-half.  I've noticed it turns out better doing an hour-and-half on a low simmer.
3 chickens, 2 stock pots
After it's simmered enough to cook the meat tender but NOT falling off the bones by itself, pull out all the chicken pieces, and (AFTER it's cool enough to handle!) pull the meat off the bones, then dice up the giblets.  Toss out the bones and skin.  Set the meat in the fridge, then break out season-stuff that you will be straining out.  In my case, that is onion, celery, and minced garlic.  Slow-simmer another hour.

After the second hour, pour the shtuff through first a wire strainer to catch all the solid pieces, then through cheesecloth (or in my case tonight, cheap cotton muslin because I can't find my cheesecloth).  At this point you can let it cool and put it up in containers, or if like me you made way more than you realized you can simmer it down to concentrate it.  Don't skim the fat out until you are ready to cook with it, as the fat will form a seal over the top.

Here is where I am at right now, simmering it down to concentrate it.  I've managed to get it all in my largest stock pot.
chicken stock simmering down
Just a note: the cheap cotton muslin makes a decent substitute for cheesecloth, so this qualifies as a way to use scraps!

You can also boil down ham bones or do a straight vegetable stock using this method - although straight veggie stock won't form a fat seal on top.

Hope that helps ya, Maggie!

1 comment:

Maggie said...

Yay! Thanks for the stock-making-for-dummies post. :)

I have issues with giblets.. they're just creepy!