Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Homemade Chicken or Turkey Stock
I use gallons of stock in the winter months. To make soups and stews and even when cooking brown rice. And I do buy boxes of stock. But when possible, I much prefer to use homemade. The flavor difference is night and day. Truly. And it's about the easiest thing you could ever make.
So after I cooked my extra bird on Thanksgiving (I ate dinner with my family but knowing I wanted the meat and bones, I cooked my own big bird the day before. Yes...I did that. I do it ever year, actually.), I save the bones to make yummy stock a few days later when I had time. Easy peasy lemon squeezy! Also, you only need two ingredients. Bones and water. Of course, if you have the others on hand, add them. But only the first two are really required. Last year I made an awesome broth with bones, water and celery. So it's completely flexible. This year I had an onion to use but totally forgot so it never made it into the pot. Oh well.
Homemade Chicken or Turkey Stock
* Chicken and/or Turkey bones. You can freeze them until you need them if you prefer.
* Water. Lots of water.
* Celery (my favorite but not required)
* Carrots (I only use when I have them on hand)
* Onions (I forgot to use)
* Salt and Pepper (to taste- you could omit)
* Bay Leaf (I've never used one but I bet it would be good)
* Use your biggest pot. I use the pot I use when canning. It's HUGE. You could also use two big pots and split the bones between them.
* Toss the bones in the pot.
* Fill with water, leaving about 1 inch at the top.
* Add in any veggies. Just make them small enough to fit in the pot. No need to really chop them up though. If adding celery, DO include the leaves. They are one of the sweetest, most flavorful parts.
* And seasoning. If adding salt, be very light. You can always add more salt to soups. Stock should not be salty to allow it to be used in as many recipes as possible.
* Bring to a simmer and let it go for as many hours as you have. At least one. I think I let mine go a good three. It's on a low simmer though and you do not need to be in the kitchen. Just let the flavors from the bones and veggies marry up. As long as you keep it simmering on low, you won't need to worry about the liquid spilling over.
* When you realize it's late and you need to go to bed, pour into freezable containers, using a strainer to keep out any bits, for future use. Cool in the fridge and pop in the freezer the next day.
This is what I ended up with from the bones of one turkey and my largest stock pot. The tall containers hold 4 cups and the bottom round container probably holds about that much too. It tastes amazing. If you find yourself sick, this is actually really good plain.
Even though I am careful to pick the bird bones as clean as possible, I always end up missing some meat. When you cook the bones for several hours, any leftover meat, even the meat that was less than tender, just falls right off and is delicious. I put all the extra meat, carrots and some celery, along with stock, into that middle bowl and had an incredibly yummy soup the next day. Mmmm!
Total time actually spent doing something for this recipe? Maybe 15 mins if you include me carefully picking out all the extra meat for my bonus soup. That's start to finish. The three hours in between of simmering don't count as you don't need to do a darn thing.