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No Work Chicken Stock

No Work Chicken Stock

Homemade stock is the trick behind many of our favorite meals.  It adds noticeable flavor and nutrition to countless savory dishes.  When I first started making stock I followed a recipe (included in notes).  It’s a good recipe that makes tasty stock.   But even though it’s not hard, it requires just a bit too much thought.  As our life gets progressively busier I found myself making it less and less.  But store bought stock just doesn’t compare and oh how I missed that liquid gold!  Then Marshall came up with an idea that simplified the entire process.  Our new system is so easy and so painless that we (he) make it nearly every week.  It requires barely any work and makes good use of things that would probably have been discarded otherwise.  Here’s what to do:

No Work Chicken Stock

Directions:

  • Get a one gallon freezer bag and put it in your freezer.  Anytime you cook, throw your meat and veggie scraps in the bag (see notes below for recommendations).
  • Once your bag is full, dump it in a large pot, cover with about a gallon of water and bring to a boil.  Optional: add a glug of vinegar (whatever kind you like) to help extract extra minerals from the bones.
  • Once it boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for at least a couple hours and up to 12.
  • Remove from heat, strain out the solids (we place a colander in a large bowl) and store the stock in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for 3+ months.

Notes:

  • Recommended scraps:
    • Meat: Bones impart wonderful flavor and nutrition to stock so save any bony bits from your meals.  We eat a lot of bone in chicken so our bag usually contains a ton of chicken bones.  It can also include skin, fatty bits that you trim off and pieces of leftover cooked meat.  I personally don’t mind combining different types of meat so we also add things such as turkey bones and beef ribs to the mix as we have them.
    • Veggies: Carrots and onions are my favorite stock veggies so we go heavy on their peels, butt ends and even the papery layers.  Other good choices include leafy sections of celery, leftover fresh herbs (including their stems), green bean ends, pepper scraps, greens ribs, corn cobs, etc.  Ask yourself – would I like stock that tastes like (insert vegetable)?  And if the answer is yes, throw it in!
    • Items we generally avoid: Cruciferous vegetables (brocolli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, etc) tend to overpower stock.  I generally omit them or limit them to small quantities (unless you really love the taste of broccoli!)  I also avoid potatoes because they make a murky, starchy stock.  Finally anything rotten should not go in the pot.
  • How to use: Almost any savory dish that calls for water can be improved by replacing the water with homemade stock.  We use it when making soups, stews, rice, risotto and many sauces.  We constantly get compliments on even the simplest dishes and the secret is in the stock!
  • When stock cools, the fat will often accumulate and solidify on the top – this is a good thing.  The layer of fat helps preserve the stock and keeps it fresh a little longer.  And when you use the stock it can easily be lifted off and discarded.
  • To see my original recipe click here: http://youngmotherhubbard.com/http:/1067/stock-recipe/

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/thedelicious/4165100911/

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