Dem bones, dem bones...dem chicken stock bones
I want to make stock. Can I start to save chicken bones in a freezer bag....collect as I go, and make the stock when I have enough? Any tips on doing this well?
Does anyone use a crockpot to make stock?
Do you have a favorite recipe?
Can I freeze the stock in freezer bags?
Any suggestions on all manner of making stock would be greatly appreciated. I've been cooking for years and years and have never made stock. The time has come.
Yes, you can save chicken bones in the freezer until you have enough. Wrap well in foil and they should keep until you want to use them - I've been doing this for years.
Yes, you can make it in a crockpot - Put in chopped celery, carrots and onions, along with a bay leaf, some peppercorns, the chicken carcasses, and cover with water. Let it simmer on low for at least 10 hours, or overnight and into the next day. Strain, and let any fat rise to the stop to skim off. Then pack it away in the GladLock type of containers in your freezer (I like the 1/2 cup and 1 cup sizes, as that's the amount I usually use at any given time).
The stock would have to be completely cool to freezer in freezer bags, but I don't see why not. Would allow for easy stacking in the freezer.
I freeze my stock in freezer bags - it needs to be fairly well cooled off, or it will melt the bag! I stand the bags in a mixing bowl to fill them, other wise they have a slithery tendancy to collapse and spill your stock all over the counter. They may still collapse in the bowl, but it's a lot less messy. Then I lay them flat on a cookie sheet, and stick em in the freezer -- when fully frozen, I stand them on end like books. It saves space.
If you like things like chicken salad and other recipes that call for cooked chicken, you can make a nice stock with a whole chicken. Cook the chicken along with the vegetables until the chicken is cooked through - this makes a light stock, and if you want a richer one, put back the chicken carcass after you've stripped the meat from it, or put in fresh bones, and continue cooking. I'm not sure if your crock pot would be large enough to do this in though - mine isn't.
If you use a whole chicken or chicken parts to make stock, and don't bother picking the meat but just cook it until done, you'll be left with a lot of fairly flavourless meat that you may (if you are, like me, a hyper-thrifty type) feel uncomfortable about throwing out. Here's a recipe for it:
Chicken Stock Sausage
shredded chicken from making stock - 1 chickens worth
1tsp-2tbs red wine vinegar
2-4 tbs of butter
1/4 c. olive oil
2-3 tsp thyme
1-2 tsp. basil
2-4 dry red chiles, crushed fairly fine
2-4 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Starting with the smaller amounts of spices and fats, pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until coarsely crumbled, stopping once or twice to check moisture and flavour -- adjust seasonings to taste, and add more butter or vinegar as needed for texture.
Shape into patties or logs, and brown and serve, or freeze - *DO NOT THAW BEFORE COOKING - it ruins the texture* DO not microwave unless browned first.
These are very tasty, though the texture is markedly different from a raw meat sausage - you can vary the spices as desired, or - to make a more raw meat like sausage - add a bit of pork or raw chicken to the blend.
Sounds like a plan.
Since I have a fridge in the basement, I take the whole pot of stock and put it in the fridge overnight so the fat congeals at the top and I just scoop it out. The stock becomes like a jelly. I freeze the stock in 1/2 quart containers and also in 3 oz plastic cups. I'll take a tray and line up the cups, then put the whole tray in the freezer. After the 3 oz cups are frozen I squeeze then out of the cup and put them in a freezer bag and into the freezer. The smaller size is good if you just need a little stock for a dish.
A few tips from years of making chicken stock: (Made some this morning actually)
Roast chicken makes tastier stock with more depth.
Use skin, bones fat, everything except innards, unless you want a "heavier" stock.
We also use the bits and pieces left over from a supermarket roast chicken. Remove the meat from the bones and save until use. Make sure the only seasonings used by the supermarket are salt and pepper. That said, do not put salt in the stock, only do it to taste when you use it.
Date your stock containers.
Don't skim the fat. It will settle at the top of the container and prevent the stock from freezer burn. Scrape it off before use.
We often add a bit of white wine for added depth, typically a Trebianno D'Abruzzo, a cheap Italian, but an excellent cooking wine.
You'll NEVER go back to canned stock again, guaranteed!
The bones from one roasted chicken (regardless of who did the roasting) are enough to make stock (roughly a quart). I clean off all the meat the I want to use for other purposes (such as chicken salad), and throw the rest in a pot. Then add water to cover (more or less) and simmer for an hour or so - nothing exact about the time. Strain, and refrigerate. 1 qt spaghetti sauce jars make nice storage containers, though I need to use a wide funnel to fill them.
I add various flavorings to the chicken - onion, mixed herbs, a carrot or two, other left over vegies or herbs.
The resulting stock usually has a moderate amount of body (like wiggly jello), and somewhat cloudy. It is good for a hearty soup, or sauces. Precooked chicken, supposedly, isn't the best for making clear stocks, though there are methods for clarifying the stock.
In a sense there are two approaches to making stock. You can buy ingredients specifically for stock, and use them in a way that makes the very best. Or you can view stock making as a way of getting the best value out of ingredients that you already have, such as a left over chicken carcass.
Still looking for stock recipes? I use the one I found in Pam Anderson's book, The Perfect Recipe. I can summarize it off the top of my head. Chop up a chicken's worth of bones into small pieces to expose as much of the bones as possible. I also add in the fat but you may leave it out. Chop up an onion and saute it along with the chicken bones in a tablespoon or two of hot vegetable oil until chicken loses the raw color, about 5 minutes. Then reduce heat to low, cover the pot and let sweat for 20 minutes. Add 4 to 8 cups of water, a bay leaf or two, and 1 or 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring up to a simmer and cook, covered on low heat for another 20 minutes. De-fat and use at will. The amount of water will vary depending on how many bones you've collected and whether you want to make a concentrated stock or not. I usually use the lesser amount of water and freeze in 1 cup portions. Then I can add 1 cup of water to the thawed stock to get 2 cups. This saves valuable freezer space at my house. Drinking this stock from a mug makes you feel like you've eaten a meal and it's lovely when you're sick or on a clear liquid diet before your dreaded colonoscopy.
Thank you all so much. Yes, I have found a new ritual. I put a whole carcass, and skin, into the crockpot last night. I added a chopped onion, 4 chopped carrots, some chopped celery, peppercorns, a bit of white wine, and a bay leaf. Water to cover. Low for 10 hours. I COULDN"T SLEEP, because it smelled so good all night. I am not kidding. I strained it in the morning before heading for work, and put it in the fridge. I skimmed the fat when I came home, and put it in freezer bags....one containing a quart and one containing 2 cups. I'll get better at storage amounts as I go, but I am very pleased with this new addition to my cooking supplies.
BTW, the consistency wasn't at all jello-like. Do you think it's because I added the wine?
The jello like consistency comes from gelatin being cooked out of the bones of what ever you've made your stock out of -- not gelling probably means that you didn't cook out that much gelatin -- my made-from-a-whole-chicken stock doesn't gel at all either. I don't think the wine would have much to do with it - you can make wine jello, so it can't be a wine chemistry thing.
If you are wanting a stock that will gel, you can use more bones (I get a bag of chicken backs from my butcher), or in a pinch, use a little plain gelatin. Some people like the mouth feel of a gelatin rich stock.
I like to fill up ice cube trays with stock nad freeze them then toss the cubes into freezer bags. Then you can take out a cube or two as needed (I live alone) or the whole thing to make soup. Works like a charm. But if you have friends over label the trays so they dont put those cubes in their drinks :)