Homemade Chicken Stock

Well, it’s certainly been a long time. I’ve missed blogging, but other things (like finishing my degree) have taken precedence. I’m happy to report that I’ve graduated with my master’s AND am gainfully employed! And–here’s the kicker–the job is actually IN my field. And I like it, and my coworkers are great and my company is awesome. Crazy, right?

The major perk of a full-time job with regular hours (aside from the obvious wages and benefits) is that I have more time for cooking, and by extension, blogging. And I’m working on improving both of those skills, by trying new dishes and techniques, buying new foods and working my way through Food Blogging for Dummies (great read so far, actually!).

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This recipe was inspired by my resolution for Lent, which was to be less wasteful by recycling more and buying responsibly. I also started looking for ways of limiting or reducing my food waste, and learning to make homemade stock was a step towards that as well as a new skill.

Homemade Chicken Stock

Ingredients

  • Carcass of a rotisserie chicken
  • 4-6 cups of vegetable scraps (my mix included onion skins and ends; garlic skins; carrot and parsnip peels; and potato peels)
  • 6-8 cups cold water
  • A splash of soy sauce (1-2 tbsp), optional
  • 6-10 whole peppercorns, optional
  • rosemary, thyme, oregano, and/or other herbs, optional (or skip for a neutral-tasting stock)

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a large stock pot. Cover with cold water. Add water.
  2. Bring the mix to a boil, skimming off any foam that develops; reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 1 hour.
  3. Scoop out chicken pieces and vegetables chunks with a slotted spoon or strainer. Discard.
  4. Pour the stock through a fine mesh strainer to clear out any remaining scraps.
  5. For a clearer stock, strain it again through coffee filters or cheesecloth.
http://whateverpieces.com/2013/06/01/homemade-chicken-stock/

A couple of tips on this:

  • You can collect vegetable scraps over a couple of weeks–just store everything in the freezer! I use a gallon-sized Ziploc bag to hold the scraps.
  • If you don’t know what you’re going to use the stock for, stick to traditional stock vegetables like onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Too much of an odd, strongly-flavored ingredient like broccoli can take over the whole stock. (I did this once and it made great broccoli cheese soup–horrible minestrone though!) Same thing with herbs.
  • You can include parts of vegetables that you wouldn’t typically eat (such as garlic and onion skins) as long as they are clean and free of mold or decomposition. Onion skins will make the stock a darker brown color which turns some people off (but I happen to like it).
  • You can also freeze the finished stock for future use–just make sure to leave extra room in the container, and give it plenty of time (at least 12 hours, depending on the size of the container) to defrost in the fridge. You can rush it in the microwave, but it still takes forever.

There you have it!

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