Although not as easy as making vegetable stock, homemade chicken stock is very approachable and incredibly useful once you’ve added it to your kitchen skill set. This technique can also be used to make stock from most other whole birds.
What to do with chicken stock:
Chicken stock can be used to make velouté, a classic French sauce, or used as the base for soups. For chicken noodle soup, just add thyme, salt, pepper, noodles and, if you want, chunks of chicken. For the fastest method, cook the noodles in the stock while sautéing the chicken separately, combine the two and serve. If you have more time, simmer the chicken in the stock prior to adding the noodles.
How to make chicken stock:
1. Assemble your ingredients:
The proportion used by many commercial kitchens is one pound of mirepoix and five quarts of water for every five pounds of bones. You can adjust the proportions down depending on how much stock you want to make. Buying whole chickens and roasting them whole or “fabricating” the different cuts from them prior to cooking not only saves you money, but also results in the bones you need. The problem is you’ve only got one set of bones at a time. As a home chef, you have two options:
A) Save up your chicken carcasses until you have enough. It may sound crazy to freeze them after you’ve taken all the meat off, but this is a great way to make the best use of your leftovers.
B) Just use what you have. Only having one chicken carcass will result in a weaker stock, but no forethought is required.
2. Prepare your ingredients:
3. Blanch your bones (optional):
4. Refill the pot with cold water, bones and bring to a simmer:
5. Simmer 3 to 4 hours:
6. Strain and drop your stock:
7. Store until ready to use
What is a fat cap?
Your stock may develop a “fat cap” while being stored. This layer of fat floating upon your stock is actually a very good thing. For starters, it helps your stock’s preservation (as in duck confit, bacteria don’t like fat) and secondly if all the fat’s solid and on top, it’s very easy to extract from your stock when the time comes to use it.
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