I'm making Chicken Stock with the leftover carcass from my Sunday night dinner. Anyone have a favorite method and suggested seasonings to follow?
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Cook the bones separately at a "lazy bubble" meaning just a few bubbles to the surface every few seconds. That should be about 180 degrees. (Cover the bones by f3-4 inches with cold water, then raise the heat and don't let it boil.) Add carrots, onion, a small piece of celery, a small bay leaf, a good pinch of salt, a few sprigs of parsley and a few sprigs of thyme to cook during the last 45 minutes or so. Remove the vegetables immediately, once that period is up. If you don't, they will absorb and deprive you of the flavor of the stock. Total cooking time should be three to four hours. It sounds like a lot of work, but it will make the best stock you've ever tasted. Some people add peppercorns with the veggies, but I find that they introduce a bitter note, so I hold back. ;o)
Thank you for the quick response -- so cover with 3-4 inch of water from the beginning or are you suggesting that is added after the lazy bubble stage? When I do raise the heat after covering with 3-4 inches of water, but not letting it boil -- is that the stage of adding the veg/herbs and cooking for 45 mins? Should it be simmering or even less?
Sorry that response was a bit disorganized . . . break the carcass down into a few pieces, then cover with cold water. Heat on "high" until it gets to the lazy bubble stage, then immediately turn it down. Don't let it hard simmer and don't let it boil. Keep an eye on the pot, to make sure the bones remain covered. Don't stir them much, though. How much water you need to add depends really on how concentrated you want the stock, and how wide your pan is, in relation to its height. There are no hard and fast rules. I cover by three or four inches and then don't need to add much more (though I often add a bit more when I add the veggies, to keep everything covered, if necessary.) You should keep the pot at a lazy bubble (very low simmer) from the beginning (once you've heated it to that stage) to the end. And use a timer so the veggies don't cook too long. Also, use an old cotton handkerchief -- which you've gotten wet first -- over your strainer or colander when you drain everything, after the veggies cook. That will get the tiniest little bits out and makes it much, much easier to clean your strainer. You can also use cheesecloth, but it's a nuisance and adds an unnecessary expense to your house-management budget. ;o)
Great, thank you! Much clearer and seems easy enough.
I'm making stock right now from a couple of chickens I served on Sunday, too. I always use the following seasonings in my stock: brown onions with the skins on which lend a nice color to the stock, a 1 inch piece of ginger, half a lemon, 6 or 7 allspice berries, black peppercorns, 4 or 5 cloves, carrots, celery, lots of parsley particularly the stems, bay leaves and thyme. This is the way a wonderfully old -fashioned Connecticut cook, my former mother-in-law may she rest in peace, taught me years ago when I lived in New York. None of the unusual seasonings is dominant but they all blend to create a complex, rich flavor. I also strain it through cheesecloth.
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I also add lemon and sometimes Worcestershire sauce, depending on what I'm planning to do with it.
If you want to do a bit of "extra" work, I recommend roasting your veggies (celery, carrots, onions) first with a tablespoon of tomato paste before you make your stock.
As the carcass is presumably already roasted and will render a brown stock, the roasted veggies will compliment the flavor and add to it better than raw veggies. The addition of tomato paste roasted with the veggies will add the correct amount of necessary acidity as well as complexity of flavor and deep color. It might be a less harsh choice than lemon, depending on what you are going for.
Personally, if you are truly making stock and not broth/soup, I wouldn't add seasoning (i.e., salt) to the mix at all. Add it later when you use the stock for its final purpose. At that point, I would also maybe use a bit of lemon juice or a very small amount of cider vinegar to balance it out if the tomato paste wasn't enough.
I made lazy chicken stock. I make a roast chicken for dinner, then the next day I take the remaining meat off the carcass and throw the leftovers in the crock pot. I add onions, carrots, garlic - dont peel, just chop in half. I also add peppercorns and bay leaves. I also have a plastic bin in my freezer where I keep veggie scraps (onion and garlic skins etc) from daily use - freeze until its stock time. Anyway, everything in the pot, on low all day (or overnight) then strain. I usually freeze it in ice cube trays for small portions. Super, super easy - super delicious and maybe about 15 minutes of work in total (initial cutting and draining).
Btw this stock is super basic. I can add wine, tomato paste, roasted veggies, whatever to the dish I am cooking. I like it because it is so versatile and customizable. I also dont salt anything so I can salt the final dish.