Very rarely do Logan and I use store-bought chicken stock because he makes his own stock from scratch. This week, Logan guest posts his step-by-step process.
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Hello Pure Provender Readers!
So, I like to make a very unseasoned chicken stock to use in my soups and stews. The reason is because I don’t know if the stock is going to be used for an Asian dish, an Italian dish, a French dish – you get the point. I don’t want to box myself into any specific flavor profile.
This also ensures that the whole process of making homemade stock is very simple.
This recipe makes approximately 15-17 cups of stock. Here’s what you’re going to need:
Homemade Chicken Stock
Six chicken backs and necks (or two pounds of chicken bones) – approximately $3
Two gallons of water
10 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Two large pots
Long tongs – I like the OXO 12-inch spring-loaded tongs
Mesh splatter guard for the pot – if you don’t have a mesh guard, you can partially cover the pot with a lid to allow steam to escape
Add all six chicken backs to one of the pots, back side down, and turn heat to medium high. Yes, we’re crowding the pot, but since we’re trying to extract the flavor of the chicken, that’s ok. You won’t need oil for this because there’s more than enough oil in the chicken backs themselves. Note that if you’re not using chicken backs, you may need to add a tablespoon of oil; I’d recommend canola oil or any other oil with a high smoke point.
Set your timer for 10 minutes and leave the pot alone, covered with a mesh splatter guard or a partially uncovered lid to allow steam to escape.
After 10 minutes, drop the heat to medium, wait a minute and then use the tongs to turn the chicken backs over. Be careful as there will be a lot of hot oil at this time and a great deal of splatter – long, spring-loaded tongs are advised. Bring the heat back to medium high and set the timer for another 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, drop the heat again to medium, wait a minute, and take a look inside. There will likely be chicken pieces with sides that aren’t a rich crispy brown. If so, turn the back to that side, increase the heat to medium high, and set your timer for five minutes.
Once five minutes have passed, turn off the fire and carefully remove the chicken backs, placing them onto a plate with paper towels to drain.
There will be up to a cup of chicken fat left in the pot – I like to strain this out and put it into a resealable container, allow to cool, and then refrigerate for later use.
Chicken fat, also known as schmaltz , is lower in saturated fat than butter (30g vs. 51g) and significantly higher in poly-unsaturated (good) fat (21g vs. 3g). Plus, once you make home fries with chicken fat, you’ll find it hard to go back.
But that’s neither here nor there.
Getting back to the pot, after you’ve drained out the fat, there should be a lot of dried brown bits, called fonds, on the bottom of the pot. By now, the pot should have cooled enough to add two gallons of cold water safely. But, just in case, face away from the pot as you pour in the water. Return the chicken backs into the pot and add in the 10 peppercorns and the bay leaf, and bring to a boil on high heat. This will take approximately 20 minutes.
After the water starts boiling, you have a choice.
For a super fast stock, cover the pot with a lid and keep the water at a rolling boil. Every 10 minutes, drop the heat to low so you can skim the fat off the top. Return the heat to high and continue this process for 45 minutes. It’s generally not advisable to use this method since you want to coax all the flavors and gelatin out of the chicken and that’s best achieved via a long simmer, but sometimes you’re in a hurry. After the 45 minutes, the stock will be good enough to make some soup and you can skip the following paragraph.
If you do have the time, ignore the step above. Rather, after the water starts boiling, cover the pot with a lid, drop the heat to low so that the stock is just simmering and let it go for two hours, skimming the soup every 10 minutes for the first half hour and then once every 30 minutes until done.
After the time’s up, turn off the heat, rescue the chicken back with the tongs – holding firmly as they will be very soft at this time. You can toss them or save the meat for a simple soup (although by now, they’ve given their all to the stock). Pour the contents of the pot though a colander into another pot, making sure you’ve retained the bay leaf and the peppercorns. You will just want to toss those.
Let the stock cool and remove whatever fat is left over on top.
Note that you’ve not salted this stock so if you’re not going to use it immediately, you should freeze it for up to three months.