Tuesday, July 5, 2011
I have learned to love making my own chicken stock. I made my first batch about a year or so ago and I think I used too much water. It still turned out well but not as rich as I have heard from others. Then I ccsw1ry with leaves, etc. However, a friend recommended to me about putting in almost withered veggies in there, too. Like spinach or anything else that I can find in my produce bin. However, if I know that it's going to be awhile before I make stock I will throw my veggie extras in a ziploc bag and freeze them until I am ready. Easy-peasy.
So, I throw my chicken/turkey carcass in the crock pot, cover with veggies, add some garlic and pepper to season, a bay leaf, and enough water to cover the carcass (about 6 to 8 cups depending on the size of your crock pot.) I turn my pot on low and set the timer for 12 hours. Generally, I just let it go over night and we are good to go in the morning.
For storage, I pour my chicken stock into ice cube trays and once they are frozen I pop them out and put them in a ziploc storage bag. The cubes equal about 1 oz of liquid. Maybe a little less. So, when I need them I put some in a microwaveable measuring cup and melt them. You can use a pot and stove just as easy, too. Whatever your preference.
If for some reason you will not be able to pop your cubes out for awhile wrap them up in plastic wrap to keep them from "drying" out. Trust me, it can and will happen. ha!
There are other storage options but this is my preferred method so I can generally just grab what I need for easy use.
Sometimes I don't even want to think about making stock after making a meal and dealing with cleaning a chicken. I just throw the carcass in a ziploc or other freezer safe container and freeze it until I am ready to make stock. It just takes the pressure off to prepare the meal and then get everything together for stock.
Hopefully, I will be up for making stock again soon. But I may stick my pot outside so as to avoid the smell in my house. It's a good smell in general. It's just not a good smell to my pregnant frame at this time. Such is life.
The crock pot method made a LOVELY stock rich in color and flavor. I no longer find myself in a quandry needing stock at the last minute and I can flavor up just about anything by using it instead of water -- stuffing, rice, bulgar, quinoa, etc. I look forward to making some soups this winter with it, too! YUM!! I also get a lot more bang for my buck. My chicken is usually about $5 -- we will get a couple of meals out of it plus more stock than I could ever buy for $5. Gotta LOVE the savings!! (And you have to love the reduced salt, fat, and no MSG!)
Thoughts or tips on making stock???