I hope you enjoy the titles of my posts as much as I do. They are chosen because they make me smirk; really hope you get a smile or two out of this blog.
On to the chicken carcass that was chillin' in my fridge on Saturday.
There are actual stock recipes. If you google stock, or check out your favorite how-to cookbook (mine being my old Joy of Cooking), you are bound to find several. They usually call for vegetable scraps or fresh veggies or a bouquet garni of some sort to help flavor the stock. They'll call for a specific amount of bone/carcass to water/veggies. The first time I attempted stock, I found this very helpful. But here's the thing, people have been drawing nutrients for stock for a long time, and did so without recipes.
Basically, what I've taken from the recipes is :
- older chickens tend to have more flavor
- the carcass needs to be completely covered (with usually an inch or so to spare) with water
- veggies can be used to flavor
- you do need to bring it to a boil
- you need to simmer for at least an hour or two
- lid should be set on the pot, slightly ajar, for majority of simmering time
- and skimming the scum is very helpful.
What this means is that my process for stock making is generally:
- place carcass in stock and cover with water
- set to boil
- let boil for a while, check on it
- reduce heat to simmer
- set lid on pot, slightly ajar
- check on it
- go away, read a book, watch some tv
- check on it
- skim the stock
When the liquid has reduced (and if I don't feel like adding more), and has gained a color resembling stock, I remove it from the stove. Then, I take out the bones (and anything that was added, like onion or bouquet garni), and divide the stock amongst my storage containers. Washed pasta sauce jars work very nicely. Let it all cool on the counter, and then stick in your fridge. Be sure to rotate any stock still in your fridge to the "top," or where ever you will be able to use it before the new stock.
Because I generally don't add veggies to my stock as it simmers (because I don't often have them on hand), in all honesty, my stock is rather bland. I can see the fat in it, though, and it is more flavorful than plain water.
In case you are curious at all, here are some photos of my freezer:
1. See the tower of stock containers, a bag of frozen veggies, and to the right, the larger containers of soup
2. The plastic bag is wrapped around an old pasta sauce jar of new stock, as a precaution, in reality, this is sitting in front of the tower of stock. The lime sherbert container is actually soup. You can also see my ice trays and DIY ice bucket.
Making your own stock is a relatively easy process that requires very little attention on your part, once the pot is simmering. Have you made your own stock before? Do you do it on a regular basis? If so, do you follow a recipe or add flavoring to it? If not, feel like giving it a go?