chicken stock....because i couldn't think of something more clever.....

chicken stock....
is there anything better?
it's like...a magic elixir.
the answer to everything.

dish not tasting quite right? add some chicken stock.
beef up that soup? add some chicken stock.
magic ingredient to mashed potatoes - chicken stock.
want to make a soup? hey...where's that chicken stock?

it has 100 and one uses.
everyone has some and everyone uses it.
and before you reach for the carton in your cupboard {which there is nothing wrong with - i have a few in there as well} picture this:

sunday night. you have prepared your family a beautiful roast chicken dinner - using my kitchen tip naturally, that's why it's so perfect - and while you were preparing said dinner you mysteriously placed an empty stock pot/dutch oven on your one free element on the stove. also you have placed an empty bowl on the counter top awaiting something only you know about. as you rummage through the fridge for the perfect potatoes, carrots, celery and onions for your roast vegetables you also absentmindedly place two onions, some of the carrots & celery + some not so savory looking vegetables {but NOT rotten} in the empty bowl and go about your business. also while you search for the perfect green vegetable to steam or sautee and complement your sunday night dinner you come across - half a red pepper maybe? some leftover mushrooms? a leek who doesn't look like he will survive the night? bowl. bowl. bowl. {one tip...broccoli is a little strong - i would steer clear of adding that.} as you chop up your star vegetables for your dinner, prepare them and pop them in the oven or steamer, turn your attention for the next five minutes to the less than qualified contenders - peel your onions {these can be quite nice ones}, chop in half and add to your secret pot. chop up some carrots and celery and secretly slip into the pot as well. next trim up your less perfect produce and pop into your pot on the stove. now your bowl should be empty and your pot full. the next step should take you all of two minutes so no need to worry about heavy labour or wiping the sweat from your brow. now listen carefully as this does take some technique.....reach in to your spice cupboard and grab about 5 to 6 peppercorns and dump into pot. grab about 3 bay leafs and do the same. have some fresh thyme in your yard? go snip about 5 sprigs. add to pot. and lastly throw about 3 unpeeled garlic cloves to your pot. done. leave on the stove, element off, forgotten about till your chicken is ready.

the prep, mixed into what you were already doing.....now that wasn't so hard was it?

now you turn your attention back to your chicken dinner and sides. once ready, pull your chicken out, cover with foil, let rest then uncover and stand back & admire your work. beautiful isn't it? i think a roast chicken is one of the most beautiful things ever.....now get your head back in the game. carve your chicken, plate your sides and take it all to the table. just before you all sit down steal your self away to the kitchen and pick clean your carcass - reserving all meat on a seperate plate. toss all bones, bits, discarded skin, juice from the cutting board - yes that too - into your secret pot on the stove. now fill with water till it's all just covered. place on the stove and bring to a boil. return to the table and enjoy your dinner. once the pot comes to a boil, turn down to a simmer and let it go, covered, for about an hour. after an hour and all the dinner is done and dessert has been savoured.....come on you made something right? maybe this...or this....or THIS.....once that's all done and you have collected the praise....turn your attention back to your pot. lift the lid and let simmer uncovered for about two hours. now too is when you can add other things - the wings weren't touched? clean them off and throw them in. there is a leg leftover? do the same - of course while reserving all the meat for sandwiches or to freeze for future soup use. now after hour one of simmering uncovered, check the water level - you want to make sure that everything is just covered so add a touch more water. now go bathe the kids or fold the laundry or watch AFV.....go do something. after another hour turn off the heat and let your stock cool slightly before you start straining. place a wire sieve {the smaller the holes the better} over a heat proof bowl; using a slotted spoon transfer your vegetables and bones out of your stock and into the sieve. let drain slightly {i press them down to get all the goodness out of them - they do act like sponges a little} then discard. do this with all contents of the pot till you are at the point of just dumping the whole thing over the sieve to catch all the little bits and to give yourself the purest chicken stock possible. let cool a little more and just before you crawl into bed, cover and place in the fridge.

the next day you will see your glorious stock just waiting for you. your stock will either be the liquid kind - like from the tetra packs - OR like a jelly. if you got the later - lucky you! be warned though - this style is much more concentrated! skim the top and now it's time to organize it for freezing or you may just decide that tonight is the perfect time for chicken soup!
for freezing: place either one cup or two cup portions in bags, flatten out and freeze. OR freeze in cubes in ice cube trays.

there you go! the base for all winter cooking and savoury dishes. with such a weapon in your possession you will be the star of your kitchen.

but you already, are aren't you??



Anonymous said...

And guess what I was already making for dinner tonight? ROAST CHICKEN.

Jen said...

leslie, perfect! i hope you made yourself some stock!!