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Mar 16, 2009 09:13 AM

Chicken stock

I make chicken stock almost every 10 days or so. When I want a nice full flavored stock I will roast my chicken on a bed of mirepoix. I then take all the bones and roast them until they are nice and golden brown. I then combine the roasted mirepoix and the roasted bones with cold water, bring to a boil and then let simmer for a few hours. Oh my, it makes the house smell sooo nice. I usually keep a quart in the fridge, freeze a couple of quarts and then I also make ice cubes( for cooling the little girls food). What is your technique to making stock, and how do you store it?

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  1. I usually make 16 to 20 quarts at a time. Using my 24 quart pot I start by rough chopping the mirepoix and hack the chickens up into 8 or so pieces. I then brown the chicken pieces in shifts in oil in the stock pot and set them aside. I then brown the veggies, toss the chicken back in and add the water and spices and cook it for about 6 hours. Remove all the pieces and put the pot outside in the cold overnight to let the fat congeal on the top. I then package it in 1 qt plastic containers and freeze them.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Den

      do you use the meat of the chickens or are they just a base for the stock?

      1. re: Lenox637

        Actually the meat has really given it up by the time the pot is done...the dog really likes it though!

    2. Dump chicken bones (or carcass) into big pot, add a dash of vinegar or lemon juice, bring to boil and then simmer for 4-6 hours. Cool, refrigerate, skim off fat, and use as needed (usu. in soups or congee).

      3 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        Just curious, why do you add a dash of vinegar/lemon juice?

        1. re: salsailsa

          Helps leach the nutritional goodness from the bones (calcium, marrow, collagen, that sort of thing) and make your broth nice and gel-y. Only do it if you remember to add the vinegar or lemon juice right away so the flavor can cook off.

      2. Although my friends would never describe me as frugal, it gives me joy to not waste food. So, after meals, into a ziplock in the freezer go the meat bones (chicken and turkey mostly, but beef too if I don't give them to my dog). Wilted celery also gets frozen. When I have a few gallon ziplocks full, I take out the frozen bones, put them on a cookie sheet, and brown them. The browned bones along with the previously frozen celery and a halved onion and carrot are put into a big pot which I fill with cold filtered water, then put on the stove for long simmering; I add one pinch of salt and a few whole peppercorns, too. Sometimes I add garlic cloves as well. Once the stock is done, it gets divided into various containers ranging from ice-cube trays (for when I just need a little bit of stock) to cup, pint, and quart sized.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Niki in Dayton

          I never thought to salvage the wilted celery this way (guess it would work with carrots too) thanks! Chowhound never ceases to amaze me just when I think that I have a good process down, along comes a clever cook with even more creativity. What I have done is to refresh celery and carrots by placing them in a glass of water or a bath with ice, then use it within a day or so. But this idea of freezing them on a cookie sheet, is by far better!

          1. re: Niki in Dayton

            Your freezer sounds like mine--full of what others would call trash. I have different types of bones saved so I can make stock whenever I want. I don't brown the bones, though. I put them in frozen since they're usually from roasted meats.

            1. re: chowser

              I have freezers stocked with bones as well. Anytime I'm breaking down chickens or cleaning to remove undesirable cartilage, skin and fat, it all goes into zip bags then into the freezer. Same with beef or other proteins. All things that can be saved are frozen for later use. I have to admit that I am lax when it comes to vegetables. I really need to start putting my onion peel, garlic tips and other items cut from vegetables into another bag for stock.

              I have found the wonders of the pressure cooker when making stock. The only down side is that I can only make a 2-3 qts of stock at a time but can do it in 40 min. so I don't mind doing it often even a couple of batches back to back. I've made stock on demand for a soup; it's just that easy.

            2. re: Niki in Dayton

              I learned this too from my grandmother. Everything gets used. I hate waste.

            3. Speaking of frugal..... I take the skins from roasting garlic add a shallot and some chicken stock to make a simple broth when one of us here is sick.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Lenox637

                I'm with chowser and Lenox637! My trashy freezer gets not only the carcasses of roasted chickens, bones from meals, and shrimp peels, but also three (sadly, yes, three) large Ziploc bags of veggie scraps that get additions after every meal:

                1) neutral broth - any peels from onions, garlic, carrot peelings, celery trimmings, potato peelings, etc.;
                2) a European stock base - any more unusual veggie trimmings that have a distinctively European flavor, such as celariac, parsley stems, fennel trimmings, sweet basil stems (sometimes bell pepper stalks and membranes);
                3) an Asian stock base - unusual vegetable trimmings that will flavor Pho or another Asian meal, including holy basil stems, cilantro stems, lemongrass bases, lime leaf centers, etc.

                When I'm out of stock for a meal, I dump the preferred meat base, whatever is in the neutral stock bag, and a bag of either the European or Asian veggies (I make a lot of Asian food) into a stockpot and cover with water. Simmer overnight or all day.

                To skim off the fat, I let the stock cool to room temperature, then pour (usually with help, or in batches) into a very large Ziploc nestled in another pot to stand upright. After 10 minutes or so, the fat has separated from the stock, and you can cut off the tiniest bottom edge of the Ziploc and drain out the stock right out of the bottom! Just pinch closed when you reach the fat layer, and discard or drain into another container for another use. (ahhh, those years in a lab have really paid off!)

                I usually freeze stock into ice-cube trays for storage - it's the easiest way to use any amount of frozen stock for a new recipe (about 3 fl oz each). I've tried using Mason jars, and unless they have straight sides, it takes a really long time to thaw the stock enough to remove it!

              2. My stock is the simplest possible- I buy a bag of thigh bones and a bag of wing tips from the chicken shop in the market (a whole $1 each), and from the freezer I take the chicken backs I cut from the back-attached chicken legs I usually buy. All into the stock pot, cold water to cover, and then a slow simmer for a couple of hours- surface of the stock barely trembling, never boiling.

                When the stock is ready, it's a rich colour and the bones have a slightly pitted appearance. I let the bones cool in the stock- very important!- then strain them out, pouring off the liquid into a large container to chill. When cold, I can skim off the fat. By then the stock is practically a gelatin, even at room temperature.

                Yes, there are no extra flavour builders, but somehow it's rich and chicken-y all on it's own. I store most in 2-cup portions in freezer ZipLocks, laid flat, which makes them easy to stack and easy to thaw. Some, I'll freeze in ice cube trays, for just a little shot of stock when needed.

                For making stock from a roasted carcass, I'll add some onions, carrots, and celery, but I consider that to be soup base, not chicken stock.

                4 Replies
                1. re: SpiceMustFlow

                  I didn't know that about letting the bones cool in the broth - thanks.

                  1. re: SpiceMustFlow

                    This is interesting. Why let the bones cool in the stock? Do you leave everything in the stock to cool(like vegetables)?

                    1. re: SpiceMustFlow

                      Please elaborate on the importance of letting the bones cool in the stock. Thanks

                      1. re: scubadoo97

                        I'm so sorry I didn't see this before! So, three years late, here's your answer:

                        It just makes the stock more robust. All the flavour and natural gelatins remain in the broth as long as possible.

                        It's not a very scientific answer, but it's the best I've got. Hope it's not too little, too late!