Monday, September 3, 2012

Making chicken stock...

I want to start off by saying I'm sorry for not taking pictures.  I don't know why I always think of that AFTER the fact!

But I want to share my process with you anyway. 

Making stock is not hard, don't be afraid to make your own.  It's more delicious than what you can get in any store and you decide what goes in it.  Mostly things you can spell and pronounce!  Have you ever read the label on one of those commercially made stocks?  Yikes!

I started of with some chicken bones from the chicken I boned out and froze.  Don't throw those bones away after you remove meat.  If you don't use them now, throw them in a freezer baggie and wait until you have enough.  Just make sure you use them before they freezer burn.

I added in several packages of the chicken still on the bone in my pots.  I added chunked carrots, celery, onion, garlic, a few bay leaves, fresh thyme, fresh parsley, salt, pepper, ground sage, and poultry seasoning.  Exact measurements?  Well I don't do exact.  I was taught at the "little of this little of that" cooking school.  I don't really measure anything unless I'm baking.  Then I think it needs to be more precise!

For the veggies, I don't peel the carrots, just cut whole carrots into three pieces or so and the same with the celery, big chunks.  You are only after the flavor here and bigger chunks are easier to get out!  I cut the onion into halves or quarters and a head of garlic in half.  The rest gets tossed into the pool with the rest of the ingredients.

I add cold water then bring the whole thing to a boil.  Let it boil for 2-3 minutes and then reduce to a simmer.  How long you want to simmer is up to you.  I usually let mine go for 2-3 hours.

After simmering, I remove it from the heat and fish out all the big pieces of vegetables and the chicken bones or meat on bones.  Go ahead a remove the meat from the bones after it cools.  The carrots and celery I save for my dogs.  It's a nice treat for them and good for them too.  Just don't give them the onions!

Skimming the stock is easy too and the way I do it seems to pull a lot of the fat out as well.  I start with a fine strainer and then line it with a cotton dish towel.  It gets more of the particles this way.  This last batch I did, I didn't skim any fat off the top before I strained it and the final product had almost no fat accumulation at the top.

Take a look at this wonderful stock!

Not anywhere in any store will you find stock so rich and deep amber in color.  My yield after canning 14 quarts of chicken soup was 6 quarts and 1 pint.  Not too shabby!

Happy canning!


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