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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chicken Stock

One of the best things from roasting your own (whole) chickens - or other meats, really - is the ability to take all the 'remainders' and make some stock.

I love stock.

It's incredibly easy, super simple, and delightfully versatile.  Extremely useful to have on-hand.

You can use it in everything... I mean everything.  Just a (small) few of my favourite uses, are in steaming grains (like rice, or quinoa), vegetables, or basting some meat.  Let's not forget soup, either.

In case you don't know what stock is... it's basically a hyper-concentrated reduction.  Throw in all your flavours (usually the detritus and other un-usable remnants of other cooking processes) top up with water, and boil down for hours.  I usually leave this overnight, if not longer.  I like it strong.

So, for this stock, I took all my Thanksgiving leftovers, including obvious items such as the chicken carcass, and chicken neck, but also a lot of vegetable remnants such as potato peels, scallion nibs, garlic nibs, green bean nibs, and a generous amount of the herbs I had used to marinade the chicken (thyme and parsley).

All stuff that would have ended up in the compost bin anyway.

I thought about frying this up a bit just to get some good brown flavour happening, but in the end I just threw it in as-is.  It still imparted a huge amount of flavour.

And then it just boiled all through the night.

It may not look like much... but that's going to be delicious!

You can see, after even a little bit of cooking, all the oils from the chicken have come out into the stock, and the liquid itself has become far, far, more opaque too.

Like I said, I like to leave that simmer for as long as I can, usually at least 16 hours.  Then you can jar it up and use it for a variety of purposes at later dates.

Mmmmmmmmmm...  my favourite thing from Thanksgiving.