Monday, April 29, 2013

Want to Make Your Food Taste Better?

Many years back, I was at my dear friend Meg's house and I thought she was making chicken soup. But she corrected me and told me that it was stock she was making.

I questioned this- why make your own? Meg gave me a quick lesson and gave me some in a container to take home.

That was that. I was hooked.

Yes, it makes that much of a difference.

I know what you are thinking, WHY make it when they sell it in the store? That's what I thought, but  there is NO comparison!

And, my economically minded friends, it is MUCH more cost effective to make it, then buy. 

You need to save chicken bones. This is where some of the savings starts. Nature's Promise Whole Chickens are $1.89 a lb (even cheaper when on sale) So you can get a 5 lb chicken for the price of  1&1/4 lbs of chicken breast. I have learned it is quite easy to chop up a whole chicken, but if you are not into this, ask your butcher or even the nice guys at the supermarket to cut it for you. They will, for no charge.When you see legs or wings on sale, grab those too. Freeze them if you don't use them right away. 

So when I make the chicken breast for my kiddos, I take them off the bone & then the bones go into the freezer or fridge if I am making stock the next day. Sometimes I even make stock when I am making chicken. 

In a big stockpot (mine is 12 quarts I believe):
put your raw chicken carcasses - if your carcasses do not have much meat on them, add a 4 pack of wings, thighs or drumsticks to the pot. (You want to use parts of the chicken that have lots of bone in them. The bones give the yummy flavor!)
2 medium-large onions (peel them- onion skins can give a bad taste to stock!)
4 carrots
4 stalks celery (leaves too- I usually save the insides of the celery for this)
5-10 cloves garlic (peel them)
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
10 or so whole peppercorns
cover with COLD water
Optional- I sometimes add a parsnip or tops of fennel bulbs to the stock. Adds a yummy taste & saves on waste!

Bring to boil & then cook low & slow about 4-6 hours covered. Add water if need be. All the ingredients in the stockpot should be covered in water. You can use a strainer or something else to hold down the ingredients so they are submerged.

Here's our stockpot with a strainer used to hold everything down.

Skim off the fat as needed. This was a pre-skim shot. You can see the fat and skin there, just skim it away.

When it is done, you will have golden, luscious stock. Strain and put into containers. Will keep 1week in fridge but will keep a long time frozen. Highly recommend using the take out soup containers to keep separate quarts in freezer. Take it out as you need!

Once you make stock you will see how very simple it is and how much better everything tastes! We makes soups and risotto all the time with it. We use it to make gravy, add some to cook rice, to mashed potatoes...

I could go on and on....

but now I am hungry and I am going to eat lunch! ; )

Cook on!

1 comment:

  1. just read your blog post about making your own chicken stock. I saw this video last week form the nytimes website. Melissa Clark made it so simple to cut up whole chickens and is also a big advocate for making your own stock. Way more economical and as you wrote no comparison to store brands! I am doubly inspired now to make my own. Thanks, Keri!

    - H