Apparently it’s chicken day at my house – time to make stock. I’ll admit that I use canned broth quite a bit, but there’s really no reason if you eat a lot of chicken (like I do). If you’ve never made stock, it’s not difficult and you’ll find tons of uses for it.
I actually make roasted stock most of the time – it’s a great shortcut and it makes use of my leftovers. Whenever the grocery stores have a sale price on roasted chicken ($3.99), I usually buy a couple of them. You can get several meals out of one chicken before the fun begins. Pick the meat from the carcasses (you don’t need, or want to get it all), toss it in a pot with a mirepoix (2:1:1 – two parts onion, one part carrot, one part celery), again you don’t need to be exact, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let it go for 3-4 hours. Avoid adding seasonings (these chickens were already seasoned and cooked – NEVER add salt).
Once your stock is done simmering, strain into another pot or heat proof bowl (tip: line a colander with a cotton kitchen towel and pour everything through). Make sure you mash the bones and vegetables with a large spoon to extract as much liquid as possible (toss the bones and vegetables – they’ve given their all to the stock – if you don’t believe it, try tasting them). Cool the stock (you can place it in an ice bath if you’d like) and refrigerate overnight. By morning, the stock will have congealed with a thin layer of solid chicken fat on top. If you’re not using the stock immediately, leave the fat in place. It forms a seal, keeping air away from the stock.
At this point you have several choices:
Make some soup (try Tortellini in Brodo: cook dried tortellini in stock, a bit of fresh spinach, parmiggiano reggiano, salt, pepper, lemon juice).
Freeze it (I like to put one-cup scoops into ziploc bag before freezing – makes it easier to throw into a sauce)
Make demi-glace (Reduce the stock until it thickly coats the back of a spoon. This stuff is the essence of chicken – use it for sauces, etc. – anything that you want to add a lot of flavor to).