Sunday, March 9, 2008

CSA week 14 & 15 - chicken stock

I was looking at the leftover roasted chicken and vegetables and I decided to make a chicken shepherd's pie. But for that I'll need some chicken stock and, as this is a nice cool day for a long simmer, I decided to pull my accumulated chicken scraps out of the freezer and make my own.

Here in the pot you can see:

~ 2 lbs. chicken bones with a bit of meat attached, some raw some cooked
1 large turnip, eighthed
1/2 large onion, quartered
2 carrots, broken into large chunks
1 potato, quartered (normally I don't bother with potatoes as they don't add much flavor, but if any potato is going to it's an organic, locally grown one so I thought I'd let it strut it's stuff)
3 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
all the accumulated greens stems from the last few weeks substituting for the traditional celery
1 handful parsley
2 pinches peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

I added water to cover, ten cups as it turned out, gave it a stir, laid a steamer over top to hold it down and cranked the heat. After ten minutes I got this:

The scum comes from the bones so it's a good sign that things are moving along. Then all there is to do is turn the heat down to medium low (I'm looking for just one or two bubbles at a time popping on the surface; about as low a simmer as possible. My stove isn't capable of maintaining this so I set it a bit higher. Higher is better than lower here as you need to keep the temperature out of the microbial comfort zone.), skim the scum every ten minutes or so to start and then less frequently after the first hour, add water when the vegetables stop floating and after six to eight hours simmering all the flavor and gelatin is out of the chicken and it's ready to go. I've also got my secret weapon of the concentrated chicken goodness from the roasting that I saved. I'm going to add that in near the end. And here's the result:

hey it looks like soup. The final thing to remember is to cool the stock down quickly in an ice bath until nearly room temperature and then get it in the fridge to race through that aforementioned microbial comfort zone.

And that's it. I'm not sure how much I ended up with. Theoretically it should be near the 10 cups I started with, but I think I'm down to 8 or so. The sign that it turned out right is that after a night in the refrigerator it's a solid block of jelly. I'll have to warm it up to liquid stage again, but the next step is to measure out 2-cup portions, bag each separately and freeze them for later.

No comments: