A food blog dedicated to the yummy.
Ideas and demonstrations of how to use leftover food to create gourmet meals that are as tasty and appealing as the original meals that have been refashioned.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
If it's Sunday, and I don't have a million other things to do or places to go, and we happen to be out of stock, I love making stock! We've used up all the chicken stock we had in the freezer, and it's a beautiful fall day in central Florida (highs in the low-mid 80s), and I don't have to be anywhere at all, so there is stock on the stove. It makes my little 2nd day gourmetish heart smile to use this stuff up!
OK, I admit. We use a LOT of stock. I make chicken, vegetable and beef stock. We use it in gravies, sauces, casseroles, rice, prima vera, even egg drop soup! In fact, we're out of veggie stock too, so I'll be making more of that fairly soon too.
Whenever we have chicken, whether it's fried, wings, rotisserie, whatever, I always throw the bones and the "extra bits" in a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. When we're out of frozen stock or I have 1 or 2 full bags of bits, it's time to make more.
Get your biggest pot and a collander. I put the goods in the collander so that when it's time to remove the bits from the stock, it's really easy. No fishing required! Put the collander in your stock pot. Dump most of your chicken bits in the collander. Grab some leftover raw onion and toss that in on top of the chicken. Get those inner stalks of celery you weren't going to use for anything else. Also get the leafy tops or the big tough bottoms you weren't going to use either. Put them in with the chicken and onion. Got baby carrots or regular carrots taking up space in the produce drawer? In they go. Now put in the rest of the chicken bits. Add some salt and pepper.
Pour enough water over the bits and pieces in the collander to come about halfway up the stock pot. You can pick up the collander to see how much water you've got in there. I tend to over fill the pot and then when it comes to a boil it runs over a bit. If that happens to you, no big deal, just wipe it up as best you can and clean it up later.
Turn the burner to high heat until it comes to a boil, then turn it down and simmer for about an hour. I like to stir things around once in a while, turning things up from the bottom just to make sure everybody gets some time in the spa. Enjoy that lovely smell wafting thru the house!!!
We have some great herbs growing in pots out on the patio, so while the stock is cooking, I'm going shopping in our own herb garden! Whoo! I cut some parsley, some thyme, some sage and some rosemary. After giving them a good wash, I tie them together with some kitchen string, making a "bouquet garni" and set them aside. Don't put them in yet!!
After about an hour, remove the collander and place it to drain in a small bowl or pie pan. After it's drained, you can add the stock in the bowl back to the pot. At this point, I like to turn up the heat and vigorously boil the stock for a while to let it cook down and condense some. Use your judgement as to how much you want it to cook down. The longer you let it go, the stronger and richer the flavor but you may need to use some extra water later when you use the stock in your recipes.
When you're satisfied with how condensed your stock is, turn off the heat. Now drop in your bundle of herbs and let the stock sit for a while. You don't want to put the herbs in while you're cooking the stock at high boil or the poor little guys will be destroyed and the flavor won't have a chance to develop. Just let the whole thing cool. The residual heat will be enough for the herbs.
Once it's cool, take out the bouquet garni and set it aside. Strain your stock into a medium sized bowl. Now put your little herb bundle back in and place a paper towel over the top. Put the bowl in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight to really let everything blend together and devlop flavor. When you're ready to use or freeze the stock, remove the paper towel, which will help you to remove the chicken fat that has risen to the top of the stock.
Use the stock as you'd like, either now or put it in the freezer for later. I like to freeze my stock in plastic ice trays so that they're easy to use later. Ladle the stock into your ice trays and put them in the freezer overnight. Label a freezer bag with Chicken Stock the date,put in the frozen stock cubes and stash in the freezer for another day. In this pic, I'm using 2 cups of the stock in the brown rice we're having for dinner. The rest is freezer-bound.