Thursday, February 24, 2011

two for the price of one

I'm a little too excited about chicken stock. Or maybe it's the chicken itself, either way, I'm excited. I buy a chicken from the chicken lady every other week, or maybe more often, depending on what I'm making that week. I have also bought a rotisserie chicken at Costco, which I will do again, it was really good, and a bit bigger than chicken lady chickens. (and just for clarity, the chicken lady and the egg lady are the same lady) There is also a chicken truck that I often see on Friday nights, a rotisserie right on the back of the truck, but I think I already mentioned that. Anyway, I love buying a chicken, because it's like I get the carcass for free! So I get the meat, and then I make the stock. It's such a great deal. At home I used a lot of canned veg broth, or that Pacific boxed chicken broth, which I really like, but there is nothing like that here, and everything has a different, Korean taste, anyway.

Here is how I do it: More flavorful stock comes from things that have been browned, either by roasting in the oven, or cooked in a pan. (also, broth is made form only meat, stock contains the bones, so you can get the calcium, and I think the taste is more awesome) I have a bag in the freezer where I put the vegetable trimmings that can go into the stock. This most often includes bits of carrot, potato, onion, garlic, celery, anything that I have trimmed away from veg that would go well with stock, except carrot peels, which I have read can impart a bitterness. I also put my chicken bones in the bag. I usually don't roast the veg because I don't want to take the time, and since I roast the chicken, I have roasted bones. Now, sometimes I do put extra stuff in while roasting the chicken, just for the stock. When I'm ready to cook it all up, I put the bag of stuff, along with more veg if I don't have a lot in the bag, in the crock pot. I cover it with cold filtered water, a tablespoon of vinegar (this gets that calcium out of the bones) and I let it sit for an hour. (I read about the sitting thing on another blog, it apparently helps get the calcium out as well, not sure if it works, though, but I have the time so I do it.) Then I turn the pot on and let it cook for 12 hours, more or less. I start on high if everything is frozen so it gets good and hot, then go to low. When I'm done I pull out all the bones and vegetables, and then I strain it into a pot through cheese cloth- this gets out bone fragments and sand in the vegetables, etc. Then I put it in the fridge over night, then skim off the fat and put into freezer containers and freeze. It takes a long time, though it's easy to do, and it can make a really fast dinner.

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