Light Chicken Stock
Light Chicken Stock
If you’ve ever followed a recipe from one of your favorite restaurants to the letter, and found that your version was still lacking; chances are you used pre-prepared stock out of a box. Making a proper stock is a kitchen fundamental. It is also incredibly easy. A light chicken stock is one of those go to ingredients that form the basis for a number of soups, sauces, and meals like a delectable risotto. A properly made stock is essentially an intensely flavored bone broth with all the attendant health benefits of such. By making a big batch and storing in the freezer it becomes an incredibly time efficient enterprise. In making the stock from leftover chicken carcasses and bits, as well as vegetable trim, it is incredibly economical and follows the culinary medicine principles of the ‘zero waste kitchen’. Most of what goes into a stock is unfortunately tossed into the bin by the average home cook. While celebrity chef pre-prepared stocks and bone broths (often loaded with additives, preservatives, and unwanted salt) can cost upwards of 6 to 8 dollars per quart, this homemade version costs literally pennies. Stocks are the culinary philosopher’s stone, turning waste into edible gold!
- 2 to 3 chicken carcasses and assorted bits (wings, wingtips, giblets [do not use chicken livers as this will turn the stock cloudy])
- 250 g (approximately ½ pound) assorted allium trim (the leftovers from onions, shallots, garlic, and leeks)
- 500 g (approximately 1 pound) assorted vegetable trim (carrots, celery, fennel, mushrooms)
- 1 sachet containing any combination of the following tied in cheesecloth (placing these in cheesecloth is not necessary, but makes for much easier removal): bay leaf, black peppercorns, parsley and/or parsley stalks, thyme, oregano, or any other desired herbs. Here is a link to a video showing how to do this: Link to Dr. Mike Cooks
- one lemon, quartered
Use at least an 8-quart, or preferably a 12-quart stockpot. Place all the ingredients in the stockpot. Fill the pot with cold water. Allow the liquid to simmer for at least four hours, preferably between six and eight hours. Allow the liquid to cool, then strain through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer. At this point, if you like, you can pick the poached chicken meat from the carcass. This fantastically flavored meat is perfect for chicken salads. Place the stock in the refrigerator overnight. This will solidify the fat on top which is then easily removed. The stock can then be portioned and frozen until needed. You may notice no salt was added. Since stocks are often reduced to makes sauces, etc., if you season it perfectly now as it undergoes evaporation as part of the cooking process, it will concentrate flavor, but also the salt making the final dish too salty.