Sunday, March 14, 2010

Easy Chicken Stock

If you spend enough time looking through recipes and trying to re-create something you had, eventually you will break down and make your own stock instead of using canned stock.  All you hear is the difference it makes in your finished product.  I believed that it would make a better soup, but never bothered because well lets face it... I'm busy, and I spend enough time in the kitchen even if I do love it (most of the time).

However, my mother's birthday is tomorrow, she came this weekend to visit and celebrate with us.  Being the mother of a teenage daughter I learn to appreciate my mother more on a daily basis.  Especially for putting up with me during  my teen years and not banishing me to an attic somewhere.

I decided to make one of her favorite soups, split pea, so there would be something to eat when she arrived after a long day of driving.  I also decided that if I was going to make it for the first time I was going to do it right.  And let me now jump on the band wagon and tell you.... yes it made a huge difference in the final product. Being able to control the amount of salt and preservatives was also a HUGE bonus.

The chicken's I used to make the stock were the leftovers from our family meals of things like Thomas Keller's  Simple Roast Chicken as seen above.  I just put the bones and left over meat in a freezer bag until I had three.  I also based my recipe on a Thomas Keller recipe since he's my new boyfriend if you've been paying attention.  Well my new kitchen obsession is more like it as I am happily married, and believe he probably is too, although to be honest I'm solely interested in his food so I really know very little else about him.:)  Well this broth and the pea soup recipe that I will post next are both mostly based on his recipes, but I made a few minor changes based on what was in my kitchen and how detailed I was willing to get... which wasn't very.

Chicken Stock

Adapted loosely from Thomas Keller


5 pounds chicken bones (I used the leftover carcass of three roaster chickens)
4 quarts of cold water (I didn’t measure just covered the birds with enough water to submerge
1 ½ cups carrots cut into 1-inch cubes
2 heaping cups leeks cut into 1-inch pieces (white and light green parts only)
1 ½ cups Spanish onions cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bay leaf


Place bones in the bottom of a large stock pot. Add enough water to cover the bones. Slowly bring the liquid to a simmer, beginning to skim as soon as any impurities rise to the top, continue to do this throughout the cooking process. Add the remaining ingredients; simmer for 40 minutes continuing to skim. Strain the broth into a secondary container (I used a second stock pot). Discard vegetables, and bones. Place in fridge overnight. The next day skim the fat that has risen the top and discard. Ladle through fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth into another container large enough to hold entire batch of broth. I however was out of cheesecloth and decided a wet bounty paper towel would work nicely, and it did. I have no idea how much lint may have been transferred by this method but it worked in a pinch.

Voila… see what did that take you…. Like an hour? Not bad.

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