Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Homemade Chicken Stock

Cook Like A Star , All-Stars Anniversary Party is continuing on for the whole month of April! Put your party hat on and join us! For the list of our featured chefs, please refer to the list at the end of this post.

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I used to make my own chicken stock all the time, and suddenly I stopped making any for the longest time! Why, plain laziness! Making your own chicken stock is really easy, but you need to plan ahead as it takes a few hours, about 3 to 4 hours, to simmer the stock until the amount is reduced and the full flavour is achieved. All the ingredients are cut to big chunks and it does not really take much time to do that. When the stock is ready, you would need to strain it over a fine sieve, let the stock cool down, then store the stock in containers, label them, and freeze, if you are not using them immediately. Before you decide how much stock you intend to make, make sure that your stockpot is big enough and that your freezer has enough of storage space!!  It is no fun, at the end of the day, you find that your freezer cannot accommodate all those stock, and got to use them up within a few days. Or you can always send them my way! Haha!


 Once the stock has come to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 4 hours! Be patient!


You'll be rewarded! My batch of chicken stock, using Ina Garten's recipe.

Notice the layer of fat at the top of the stock? You may remove them before freezing the stock, but I prefer to freeze them as they are, and only remove them when they are partially thawed, it is easier to remove the fat that way. I have 16 containers and freeze 14 of them. 


I reserved one container which I left overnight in the fridge (not freezer), and the next day, I skimmed off the fat and freeze them in ice-cubes containers, once they are frozen solid, remove them and store in zip-log bag for uses which requires a tablespoon or so of stock.


There's one container which I left in the fridge (not frozen) for three days (yeah, I got side-tracked and did not use it as I intended to!). Though it cannot be seen clearly from the photo above, the stock actually turned gel-like. Not to worry! This means that this is good stock!  The collagen from the chicken bones is what makes the stock to turn gel-like, and this is natural, and only happens to rich, well-made chicken stock! Yipee..! And once the stock is heated, the gel will dissolve and it will turn liquid once again.


Don't forget that label! A number of times I find myself with a few unlabeled containers and wondering what was that! And did you know that most frozen stuffs have almost or no signs of any smell at all, eer... don't ask me how I know! Haha! I thought I would remember but then.....getting old I guess!! I have learnt my lesson! Now I label everything...with the exception of that few containers in my freezer, which I am still wondering, only way to know is to defrost them.... but then I've got to use them up after I defrosted them. Guess I've got to "spring-clean" my freezer soon!


Try to use the frozen stock within 3 months, I have kept mine longer than that (when I used to make my old batch of stocks before this), and they were fine. This photo was actually an old photo I took ages ago from my previous stock-making, the rest of the photos above are all current ones, taken on that day indicated on the labels.

When was the last time you've made your own chicken stock?

Chicken Stock 
(makes 6 quarts)
(adapted from Barefoot Contessa)
3 (5-pound) roasting chickens
3 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
4 stalks celery with leaves, cut into thirds
4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in half (optional) (did not use this)
20 sprigs fresh parsley (replaced with 2 bay leaves)
15 sprigs fresh thyme
20 sprigs fresh dill (did not use this)
1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

Place the chicken, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic and seasonings in a 16 to 20-quart stockpot. Add 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander and discard the solids. Chill the stock overnight. The next day, remove the surface fat. Use immediately or pack in containers and freeze for up to 3 months.

my notes :
I've used a mixture of 3-1/2kg of chicken wings and meaty chicken bones (free-range chicken), as I feel that using 3 chickens of 5-pounds each (about 7-1/2kg in total) is too much, and it will be a waste of chicken meat. Of course, you can always find ways of using all that meat, but the meat will be all too soft and mushy.
I have omitted the parsnips. And have replaced the fresh parsley with 2 bay leaves instead. Use half the amount of fresh thyme and did not use any dill, as I really wanted a chicken stock with no strong smell or taste of herbs, since I'll be using it for various cooking. I peeled the carrots but left the onions and garlic unpeeled, make sure they are washed clean. I used 1 tablespoon of fine sea salt, not too much salt, since the stock will be used for various cooking.
Once the stock comes to a boil, lower heat, and keep covered, simmered for 3 hours, and the last hour, I kept the lid ajar (about 1/4 open gap). The recipe states that to simmer the stock uncovered for 4 hours. I have always make my chicken stock, simmered with the pot covered, I guess old habits die hard! 
I've got 5 quarts of stock, which I store in plastic containers, each container is a little over 1 cup capacity (total 16 containers). I did not skim off the fat accumulated at the top layer, preferring to directly freeze as it is once it has cooled down, and remove the fat only when I partially thaw the stock, as it will be easier to remove when the fat is partially frozen.

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Cook Like A Star is entering it's third year this March! How time flies! To celebrate Cook Like A Star's 2nd anniversary, for the months of March and April, Cook Like A Star is having an All Star Anniversary Party! Isn't this exciting? Cook or bake from any of the previous featured chefs' recipes, and they are :

Ina Garten
Jamie Oliver
Nigella Lawson
Curtis Stone
Ree Drummond
Bill Granger
Masterchefs
Martha Stewart
Delia Smith
Donna Hay


The hosts for All-Stars Anniversary Party are, Zoe of Bake For Happy KidsMich of Piece of Cake and Joyce of Kitchen Flavours



Everyone is welcome to join us, cook or bake from any of the above chefs' recipes and link your posts to the linky below or from any of the hosts' page. Your post must be current. Feel free to use the above logo in your blog post. Please mention the following :

I'm linking this post to Cook Like A Star, All-Stars Anniversary Party, hosted by Zoe of Bake For Happy KidsMich of Piece of Cake and Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.

See you at the Party!
From 1st March to 30th April!



11 comments:

  1. Your chicken stock sounds perfect with all its good flavors, for sure. I also like to make it, in order to control salt and other seasonings. It's easy and always handy when you need it. thanks for the recipe.

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  2. Hi Joyce , homemade chicken stock is the best , you can control the salt and other ingredients .
    What a great idea to make frozen cubes to use when the recipe calls for just a little stock . Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. Hi Joyce,

    Seeing your homemade chicken stock, I'm feeling so shameful of myself using the store bought ones :p I can imagine your freezer must be huge to stock this large of stock...

    Zoe

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  4. Wow, so nicely packed! can I have a tub? Rich gravy, will be yummy with the food you cook;)

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  5. Joyce, making my own chicken stock has always been on my mind but laziness always gets the better of me. Beside, my freezer is always full with God knows what and you have just reminded me to do my spring cleaning too LOL!

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  6. homemade is always the best...nice post

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  7. Joyce, if u spring clean your freezer and got any leftover chicken stock then send it my way! ;)

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  8. oh you are awesome for being able to do this! I wish i had the time for it right now. maybe though in another month. life is just so busy but there is nothing better than fresh homemade stock!

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  9. Homemade Chicken Stock really is the best, Joyce. I remember you mentioning that you were thinking about making your own again. As you say, it does take a while but oh so worth it. I mean just look at the color. I sometimes question what's in those box stocks, lol...I forget to label things all the time. When I take it out and I still can't figure out what it is I wonder to myself, "what the heck was I thinking!" It isn't age, Joyce:) Thank you so much for sharing, Joyce. Can't wait to see what you do with that stock!

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  10. Unreal!.... My fridge is too small... Heh heh... U take orders ?

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  11. Oh, Joyce!! this is awesome. Can send me few containers? hehe...

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