Monday, June 14, 2010
Chicken stock...Oh my!
For the past several months, every time I cook a chicken (well, almost every time) I save the neck and back to make chicken stock. It's amazing to me how quickly my stock of chicken stock has increased....pun intended. :) This past weekend we grilled two chickens. When I was cutting them up to put them on the grill I saved the back and neck (we actually did two chickens, so there were two of each...imagine that LOL). I put them in the crock pot, filled it with water, onion and garlic powder and let it cook away for two full days. This morning I shut it off, took out all of the bones and stuff and poured it all into my big stock pot. The meat and bones don't go to waste, I usually either pick out the meat and freeze it or just give the whole lot to the cats for a treat. This morning, the cats got a treat. :)
After it's all strained out and the stock is all that is left I let it cool until I can skim some of the fat off of the top. I like leaving a bit of fat in it for extra flavor, but not all of it. I then add a bit of water since it's so rich from cooking for so long and to help stretch it a bit further. Often, if I have time I'll also add onions, carrots and celery to the chicken when I cook it in the crock pot. This adds tons of flavor and even some rich color. This past weekend I didn't take the time to do that step, so the stock is not as dark as usual. It still works great to add flavor to rice or to use as a base for gravy or soup.
This morning I ended up with 7 quarts of stock from those two backs and necks. Not bad, I'd say! The picture above is bit pale....between the sun coming in the window next to the jars and the quality of picture from my cell phone, it looks much lighter than it actually is. I've made some stock that was as dark as the wood of my cabinets. Makes amazing gravy! At last count, I have about 30 quarts of chicken stock in my pantry now. If I hadn't used any of it, I'd have more, but it is there to use. :) I've also done beef and turkey stock the same way. HUGE money saver and so much better tasting and good for you, compared to the store bought. I also have pieces of our last round of butchering in the freezer to make into stock. That will give us an easy 14 quarts of stock if I cook it down long enough. I love homemade stock....full of so much good flavor! Yum!