I could have found a more attractive and creative way to display my stock...but I didn't...ugh!
I have really wanted to share my Chicken Noodle Soup recipe with you. For the cold winter months ahead. It's warming a soothing and cures any cold.
First we have to start with a good stock. Here is a recipe that I use to make my homemade browned Chicken Stock. It's full of flavor and color. It takes a bit of time to make because it needs to simmer pretty much all day. It's so worth the time.
You will need about 6 lbs of chicken parts. I can usually find chicken backs at my local grocery store, but that's it. I usually have to buy a Roasting Chicken and cut it up into parts. I usually like to throw in a couple of breasts so that I can remove the meat from the bones and put it in my chicken noodle soup.
You will need 1 celery rib, 1 carrot that has been peeled, and one onion.
I peel my carrot because I remember Alton Brown said regarding chicken stock, "Garbage in. Garbage out".
I have found that to be a good rule of thumb for cooking. Using great ingredients results in great food.
Coarsely chop the celery, carrot and onion.
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large heavy bottom roasting pan.
Place in a preheated 450 degree oven. Roast the chicken and vegies for about 45 minutes. Make sure that nothing begins to burn on the bottom of the pan.
While the chicken is browning, make a Bouqet Garni.
A Bouquet Garni is basically herbs tied together to give the stock flavor.
Tie together the bunch of parsley, thyme and bay leaf.
It's a cute little herb bouquet.
As the browning process begins my house starts to smell like I'm cooking Thanksgiving dinner. The aroma is what comfort food creates in the kitchen.
Remove the chicken and vegetables from the oven.
Place the chicken and vegetables in a large 10-quart stock pot.
Notice all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. This is called "FLAVOR". Never ever throw this out.
Add 2 cups of the water into the roasting pan and using a wooden spoon or spatula, scrape up all the bits from the bottom of the pan.
I generally place the roasting pan over medium heat and bring the water to a simmer. This will help loosen any bits that might be causing you some problems.
Pour the remaining water over the chicken and vegetables.
Add the Bouquet Garni.
Cover the stock pot and place over low heat. Simmer for at least 4 hours.
When the stock has completed simmering. Remove from the heat.
Ohhh, just look at that brown stock.
I like to line a strainer with several layers of cheese cloth. Unfortunately for me, I'm out of cheese cloth. I am improvising with a few layers of paper towels. Hmmmm let's see how this works.
Well, looks like that worked ok.
Strain the stock into a large bowl or other pot. Discard the chicken bones and vegetables.
If you have used some chicken breasts, remove the meat to use later for chicken noodle soup or whatever.
Cover and refrigerate the chicken.
The stock is steaming!
Allow the stock to cool for at least an hour before placing in the refrigerator.
After the stock has cooled, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
After being in the refrigerator, whatever fat may have been in the stock has now solidified. You will also notice that the stock is somewhat gelatinous. That's the sign of a good stock. I think cooking low and slow helps with that. I, also, believe that you will have a more gelatinous stock if you DON'T brown the bones first. My opinion from experience.
Just skim off the fat and discard it.
The stock is complete. I made about 3 quarts of stock from the recipe. Maybe a bit less.
You can divide the stock and freeze it for weeks. I'm going to use it right now for Chicken Noodle Soup. It's coming up next so stay tuned. It's fabulous! Well, my family thinks so.
Basic Brown Chicken Stock
6 pounds chicken backs, necks or bones
1 medium size onion, coarsely chopped
1 medium size carrot, coarsely chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
4 ½ quarts cold water or enough to cover
10 fresh thyme springs
1 bunch parsley
1 bay leaf
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Trim off any extra fat from the chicken parts and spread them in a heavy-bottomed roasting pan. Add the chopped vegetables. Place in the oven and roast until the chicken and vegetables are brown, about 45 minutes.
Remove the roasting pan from the oven. Transfer the chicken and vegetables into a 10-quart stock pot. Pour off any grease from the bottom of the pan. Add 2 cups of the water into the roasting pan. Scrape the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to dissolve the juices that are on the bottom.
Tie the thyme, parsley and bay leaf with a piece of butcher string. Add the to pot with the chicken and vegetables. Pour enough water over to cover chicken. Cover the pot and place on low heat and simmer for about 4 hours.
When the stock is done, strain it through 4-5 layers of cheesecloth. Let the stock cool for about an hour before putting into the refrigerator. Cover the stock with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Discard the chicken bones and vegetables.
When ready to use, remove the stock from the refrigerator and remove any fat that may have congealed on the surface. Discard the fat.
For a light chicken stock, omit the browning process. Place the chicken, vegetables and herbs in a pot. Cover with water and simmer as directed for brown chicken stock.
Once you make homemade Chicken Stock, you will have a hard time going back to the canned or boxed stuff. It's so rich and flavorful and makes a killer soup.
Give it a shot.