Monday, August 15, 2011

Bakk Bakk Chicken Stock

"Bakk Bakk Chicken Stock"
 I make stock every other week, it seems.  Out of this recipe, I can get one pot of soup, a few family size servings of rice cooked with half water, half stock, and a cup or two left over to freeze for a rainy day.  The difference between stock and broth is simply this; broth is generally made with the meat, while stock is made of mostly bones and maybe a few trimmings left over.  Broth is very rich and can be served alone.  I find that it is wonderful for soothing scratchy throats and is easy to consume on a queasy stomach.  I'm not so sure I would enjoy a nice cup of stock, unless there were added veggies, noodles, meat... in the form of a soup. 

You will find that there are numerous stock recipes on the web.  Everyone from Alton Brown to Jane Doe seems to think they know what is best.  To be honost, I was not pleased with the majority of recipes I came across when I started researching the benefits of stocks and various ways to make it.  I estimate that I have made stock roughly two dozen times for my family, and I am confident that my stock will please the palate. 

Without further ado...

Bakk Bakk Chicken Stock

  • One whole chicken OR leftover bones from a previous chicken meal, or a combination of both 1.5-2lbs
  • Filtered water, several quarts
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 carrots, snapped into 3" pieces
  • 2 celery stalks, snapped into 3" pieces
  • 1 medium white onion, halved or quartered, unpeeled is fine
  • 1 turnip, quartered
  • 1/2 head of garlic (or roughly 5-6 cloves), smashed, unpeeled is fine
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley
  • 10-15 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
1. Add chicken and bones to a large stock pot and cover with cold filtered water.  Add apple cider vinegar and let rest for 30+ minutes (no heat).
2. Add everything except the parsley and cook over high heat until boiling.
3. Remove any foam or scuz off the top with a mesh strainer or slatted spoon.
4. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 24 hours.  If using a raw whole chicken, pull the chicken out after 3 hours and check to see if the meat is fully cooked.  If it is, remove the meat, break up any small bones by hand and return all fat, bones, skin and cartilage to the stock pot with the stock.  Reserve meat for other uses.  You don't want to cook the meat for the full 24 hours.  It will have terrible flavor and texture.  I've done it, and trust me, you shouldn't!  Also, if you cook for longer than 3 hours, make sure to check the water level and add as needed to prevent it from burning.
5. In the last few minutes of cooking, add in roughly chopped parley.

That wasn't so tough, right?  Let's continue...

6. Line a large strainer with cheese cloth, two layers thick and strain into a large bowl, preferably in your kitchen sink.
7. Plug kitchen sink drain and fill with cold water and ice.  If your bowl of strained stock isn't already in the sink, add it now.  We're cooling it off, guys!
8. Stir
9. Stir
10. Stir until the stock has reached room temperature.  Cover it and place it in the fridge to further cool. 
11. Wait a few hours (or overnight) and remove the cooled stock from the fridge and remove the fat, if you choose.  I have four growing kids who can use all the extra energy they can get and don't complain about fatty stock, so I usually opt for leaving it.  If your stock is gelatinous, which means,"having a jelly like consistency," you've done your job.  If it doesn't, try adding more bones or cooking for longer next time.  Non-gelatinous stock is fine to use.  I wouldn't waste it! 

Go ahead and use what you can while it's fresh, but chances are, you will have extra stock.  Freeze it in ice cube trays, silicon muffin trays or similar and pop the frozen chunks into a bag and use as needed. Check with your vet, but I'd make sure to give your left over pieces of bone and vegetables to a dog.  They will love you forever.  My understanding is that if the bone has been cooked long enough to break easily by hand, it's safe to give to your canine friend. 

Another easy variation:  Use your crock pot on high for several hours, then low for many more hours!

Enjoy, my friends!

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