There are certain sauces, bases and techniques that every cook (notice I didn’t say chef) should become familiar with as they expand upon their knowledge in the kitchen. We often think of taking shortcuts in this faster-than-the-speed -of-light world we live in. We almost have to in order to keep up. Sigh…
Even still, everyone should feel comfortable in making a basic chicken stock if the urge hits and time allows. Not to say you need to have a pot going every Sunday from here on out, but I’d love for you to give it a try and TASTE the difference in your cooking. When using your own liquid gold opposed to the shortcut variety, already tasty foods are enhanced. There is a depth you were missing, you just didn’t know it.
Chicken stock is not difficult. Throw everything together in a huge 12 QT stockpot and let it simmer for hours and hours until the liquid is reduced and the flavors are concentrated. Freeze in quart, pint or even ice cube trays so you have any desired amount ready when the time comes.
You will notice a difference and you will view life through completely different eyes.
Use the incredibly tender chicken to make chicken pot pie. Use the stock in our Hungarian Chicken one-pot meal. Next time the flu hits, you’ll thank your lucky stars for a few ladles of this home remedy.
Master one of the fundamentals of cooking. It’s easy. Just try it.
- 1 roasting chicken, 4 pounds
- 3 large carrots, cut in half
- 3 celery stalks, cut in half
- 1 leek, white and light green parts only, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, cut in half
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns
- Handful of fresh parsley
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt (start with 1-2 teaspoons)
Place all the ingredients into a large 12 QT stockpot or SmartSteam™. Add enough water to cover all of the ingredients, filling it up to 2 inches below the rim of the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and then lower the heat. Simmer uncovered for 3-6 hours. The stock will slightly reduce over time.
Remove the chicken, using the meat for another meal. Strain the stock using a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl or another pot. Allow the stock to cool (I have put the pot in the sink and put ice around the outside of the pot to speed up the cooling process…do not add ice to the stock or you will dilute all the concentrated goodness you just created!).
Skim any excess fat from the top (this is very easy to do once the stock is cold). Store the stock in the fridge for up to one week or freeze in containers or jars for up to 6 months. Freeze some of the stock in ice cube trays for using in smaller amounts.