Homemade chicken stock

Yield: 6 servings

Measure Ingredient
4 To 5 pounds frozen (or thawed) chicken parts, such as carcasses, backs, necks, gizzards (no livers) and wings
8 Sprigs fresh parsley
1 teaspoon Dried leaf thyme, crumbled
1 Bay leaf
2 larges Onions, unpeeled, quartered
2 larges Carrots, trimmed, unpeeled and cut into chunks
2 Stalks celery (with leaves), cut into chunks
Coarse (kosher) salt
6 Whole white (or black) peppercorns

Rinse the chicken under cold water and place in a heavy nonaluminum stockpot just large enough to hold all of the ingredients. Cover the chicken with lukewarm water and bring to a boil. Immediately drain the chicken in a colander and rinse with cold water. Clean the stockpot.

Return the chicken to the stockpot and add enough cold water to cover the chicken by 1½ inches. Place a heavy heatproof plate on top of the chicken to keep it submerged. Heat very slowly over medium low heat to boiling (this should take 30 to 60 minutes). When the broth reaches boiling, skim off any foam and scum with a wide, shallow ladle, skimmer or soup spoon. Add 1 cup of cold water to release more cloud-forming particles. Return to boiling and allow the foam to form again. Skim the foam.

Prepare a Bouquet Garni by wrapping the parsley, thyme and bay leaf in a double thickness of cheesecloth and tie neatly in a bundle with kitchen twine. Add the Bouquet Garni to the pot, along with the onion, carrot and celery. Salt very lightly, if desired, but if you plan to reduce the stock, the salt should be added only at the end.

Lower the heat so the stock barely simmers (only an occasional bubble should break the surface; the French call this "smiling"). If the liquid keeps returning to the boil, use a flame[tamer under the pot.

Simmer the stock, partially covered, checking from time to time and adding water as needed to keep the solids covered. Maintain the slow simmer (boiling will cause the stock to be cloudy), and skim any foam from the top. Simmer the broth for 3 to 4 hours or until the flavor is fully developed. Add the peppercorns near the end of the simmering time.

Line a large colander with a triple thickness of dampened cheesecloth.

Place the colander over a bowl large enough to hold all of the stock (OR use several smaller bowls). Carefully pour the stock into the colander and gently press on the solids with a spoon to extract all of the liquid. Discard the solids.

Cool the stock thoroughly by placing the bowl(s) in a sinkful of cold water. Stir the stock with a spoon, aerating the stock as you stir.

Cover the cooled bowls of stock tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the congealed fat from the surface of the refrigerated stock with a metal spoon or a skimmer. Gently blot any remsining fat from the surface with white paper towels. Wipe the side of the bowl to remove any fat. The stock may be refrigerated or frozen at this point, or it may be reduced to concentrate the flavor and to take up less storage space.

To reduce, pour the stock into a saucepan or pot and bring to aboil over medium-high heat. Boil until reduced by half, removing any foam from the top as it accumulates. Cool the reduced stock in a sinkful of cold water (as above). Add salt, if you wish.

To store stock in the refrigerator, place it in tightly covered containers and refrigerate for up to 3 days. To store in the freezer, pour the stock into ice-cube trays and freeze until solid.

Remove the cubes from the trays and place them in freezer storage bags. For larger quantities of stock, place the freezer bags inside straight-sided plastic 1-pint or 1-quart containers. Pour in the stock and squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing the bags. Freeze the stock, then remove the bags from the containers and store for up to 6 months.

To use frozen stock, use the frozen cubes for making sauces and cooking vegetables or in any recipes where a little extra flavor is desired. For larger quantities of stock, thaw the plastic bags in a bowl of warm water or under warm running water. Use the stock for soup and stew bases or in any recipes calling for chicken stock or broth.

[Crash Cooking Course; David Ricketts] [Family Circle; 10/20/87] Posted by Fred Peters.

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