Monday, June 18, 2012

Recipe: Home-Made Chicken Stock

Home made chicken stock simmering in an enameled dutch oven
Stock made from some animal is the base of many a tasty meal. While beef, buffalo, and fish stock make their way into some of the dishes I cook, I find that chicken stock is the workhorse of my kitchen.

We buy organic chicken stock from stores on occasion, but there's no question that home-made chicken stock is tastier, cheaper, and only requires a bit more planning.

The recipe is simple: sauté aromatics and herbs, throw in a carcass from a previously roasted chicken, and then add white wine and water. Season to taste with salt and you're done!

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken carcass from a previous roasting
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 quarts (12 cups) water
  • a pinch of dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Procedure

Heat an enameled cast iron dutch oven on medium heat. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. If you don't have olive oil, canola or some other oil is fine.

Aromatics and the chicken carcass browning
As the dutch oven heats, roughly chop the celery, onion, and carrot into big chunks. Once the oil is shimmering and hot (about 5-7 minutes), toss in the aromatics (i.e. the onion, celery, and carrot).

Sauté the aromatics for 5 minutes, and then add the chicken carcass. Continue to stir things around for another 10 minutes. Ideally, you achieve a bit of browning on the aromatics and the chicken.

Once things are nicely browned, clear a spot on the bottom of the dutch oven, add another tablespoon of oil, and put your crushed garlic into this spot. Also add the black pepper and thyme on top of the crushed garlic.

Stir things around for about 45 seconds to gently cook the garlic. Be careful not to burn or even brown the garlic. As soon as the garlic has cooked gently, immediately add the wine. Stir the contents of the dutch oven around for 30 seconds, and then add the water. Add the bay leaves.

Simmer the broth for 1-4 hours, depending on how much time you have. Season to taste with salt until it tastes like a good broth (a soup you'd want to keep eating).

Strain the liquid into a bowl, cool, and then freeze it in Ziploc bags... or use it in whatever recipe you've got going on.

4 comments:

  1. I make this at least once a week. So easy it practically makes itself, and the payoff is huge. There is no comparison between this and canned stuff. The other day I was in a rush, and only had time to let it go for two hours instead of the usual four and it was just as good.

    On a related note, I fired up the cast iron yesterday and seared a bunch of shrimp coated with a dry rub in the dry pan. They were great, but I'm looking forward to making shrimp stock with the leftover shells. I've never made shrimp stock before, so wish me luck.

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  2. Hey Kirby!

    Yeah, it's hard to explain how amazing and easy home-made chicken stock can be. Ya just don't know 'til ya do it. Then you wonder why you ever bought it at the store.

    I have made shrimp stock from the shells. Pretty straight forward. Thyme goes nice in there. Good luck! And let us know how it goes... ; - )

    -D

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  3. Hi there,
    I have been recently been attempting to use a bare cast iron 7qt dutch oven to make chicken stock. My goal is to take advantage of the drippings collected while BBQing beer can chicken.

    I put the pot in the BBQ and the charcoal around it. After the chicken is done, I throw in the giblets to brown them. I add some water to deglaze and lid while the charcoal cools and we eat. After eating, I move the pot from the BBQ to the stove top. I add the carcass, bring to a boil, then loosely lid, simmer overnight and strain in the morning.

    In your article about bare vs enameled cast iron, you mention that my pot is introducing iron into my food. My pot seems to be doing so excessively. My recent batch was sludgy and the taste was overwhelmingly metallic.

    My pot is relatively new and maybe I am over-oiling. Also I noticed in your recipes that you tend to not use bare cast iron when simmering for more than a half-hour.

    Any thoughts you can provide are greatly appreciated!

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    Replies
    1. Hey Chris,

      I wonder if you're burning off parts of the seasoning by embedding the dutch oven among your coals. If so, the water you add for stock could easily cause rust during an overnight simmer. In my experience, it doesn't take long to burn seasoning off when using real fire.

      When smoking meats in my Webber Kettle I have captured drippings in a bare cast iron skillet for use in making gravy using a somewhat-similar method... but I don't embed my skillet among the coals. Instead, I bank the coals against one side of the kettle, and put the skillet on the other side under the meat. This indirect heat method works great for smoking... but may not be as good for barbecued / beer can chicken.

      I'd love to hear how it works out if you decide to try it.

      Thanks!

      -Derek

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