What happens to that lovely roasted chicken carcass after you have raped and pillaged it for meat like the Stormin’ Norman? What’s that you say? You discard it like that mini backpack you had in the 7th grade? Psh! What insanity. With a little but of time (oh, say 6 hours) you can turn what was going to be food for the vultures into hearty chicken stock.
Stock. The joie de vivre of the the cooking world. Without it we wouldn’t be able to prepare our favorite soups and sauces as it lays down a flavorful base for chicken veloute, risotto and, of course, chicken soup.
What you will need:
one large stock pot
plenty of cold water
chicken carcass from a (formerly) four pounder, cut into smaller pieces. we want the flavor to seep out the chicken bones from as many angles as possible. you can even freeze the leftovers and make stock at another time.
about 3 cups of chopped onions, celery, carrots (also known as mirepoix for you Francophiles)
1 chopped leek and/or turnip (optional)
a bunch of herbs (I like to experiment with mild herbs only: sage, thyme, parsley, a bay leaf and 2 or 3 cloves of garlic and pepper corns– do not use rosemary, it’s far too strong)
You do not need salt. Please remember this. The natural salt of the veggies and chicken will be extracted during the long cooking time and due to the condensed nature of stock, you will certainly need no additional saltage.
After compiling all ingredients, put them into the stock pot and cover with very cold water. Give it a quick stir and bring the contents to a slow boil then lower the heat to maintain a dull simmer. If you leave the contents to boil then you will have a cloudy stock and we want a clear stock, yes? Oui. Let simmer for hours (I usually like to make sure I’ve squeezed the life out of my leftovers so I simmer for a full 6 hours or until I “feel” it’s ready). Make sure to skim off the scum that rises to the top every 20 minutes or so for the first 2 hours then check on it every 40 minutes.
Once the chicken has given all of its love up – you will notice the condensed, velvety flavor of the liquid- strain the stock with a fine mesh sieve and discard the solids (all flavor has been simmered out of them fer pete’s sake). Pour the stock into small 2 cup storage containers and cool quickly. I like to stick the containers right into the freezer for use at a later date. If you do not cool the stock to under 40 degrees within 4 hours, it will likely go bad.
You can also use the liquid as a…ahem…stocking stuffer. No. Really. I just said that.