Monday, October 15, 2012

Homemade Chicken Stock



In case you thought I may have fallen off the face of the Earth never to blog again, fear not: you were wrong!
I got married a few weeks ago and life has finalllly settled down a little, so I'm back at it. And just in time for wonderful fall foods and cool weather that just begs you to stay in and be crafty and cook. Seriously, I cannot describe how excited I am that "soup season" is upon us. And the very first building block in almost any homemade soup is chicken stock.


So, you guessed it, we're going back to basics and making chicken stock. I can't say that I use homemade stock every time I make soup. Far from it. Typically I use homemade chicken stock for broth-based soups, where it really shines. And the added bonus is that you're left with a full deliciously tender chicken that's perfectly seasoned.



You'll need:
1 five lb roasting chicken
2 carrots, unpeeled and halved
2 celery stalks, unpeeled and cut into thirds
1 medium onion, unpeeled and quartered
1 head of garlic, unpeeled and halved
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1/2 tsp. dried rosemary
2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. whole peppercorns (I used a peppercorn mix)
water


Place all ingredients in a large stockpot with chicken breast-side up. Fill stockpot with water to just cover chicken and vegetables and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for an hour. After an hour, turn the chicken over, so it is breast-side down and simmer for three more hours uncovered. You may need to add a bit more water if it appears to reduce too much. I typically add an extra couple or three cups about an hour before it is done. (This whole mess may not look like much in the process but, oh man, that chicken tastes good if you sneak a bite in at hour three and a half... which you most definitely should.)


Use a wire strainer to strain the contents of the stockpot into another pot or large bowl to separate broth. You can then use the vegetables and chicken for whatever you'd like. Refrigerate the stock for at least 8 hours and skim top layer of solids off. Now, it's ready to use!


Any suggestions of what soup I should make with my first stock of the season? I'm taking requests!

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