Nothing is more basic, yet essential, to a good soup than stock. The most commonly used stock is chicken stock and depending on the soup that you’re looking to achieve, that will sometimes vary. Beef stock would be the next guy in line, followed by a fish (my fav) and/or seafood stock. You can never go wrong with a woooonderfully vegetal aromatic vegetable stock (which is technically a broth but I digress) and I made those ALL the time in the professional kitchen. I’ve made several very good soups with stock out of the grocery store but there’s nothing like making a good chicken stock from scratch, especially when you roast the bones beforehand. If you would like, you can also roast the veggies (as I do in the recipe below) or add them to the stock in their rawness. So, here we go, back to my culinary school days and big batch cookin’ (well sort of…lol). The following recipe is for a 1 1/4 gallon pot of stock that you can store in bags and freeze for later use. I find this so convenient to do and usually make my stocks on my “clean the house” days. While I’m doing laundry or vacuuming, this guy’s barely at a simmer on the the stove top.
Roasted Chicken stock
- 8 lbs chicken bones and trimmings (I’m using back bones)
- 1 pound mirepoix; chopped in 1″ pieces (1/2 pound onion, 1/4 pound celery, 1/4 pound carrot)
- 1 satchet of cheesecloth (lil bundle) with: 10 parsley stems(leaves removed), 8 sprigs thyme, 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 2 garlic cloves
- olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
- Salt (kosher or sea) and freshly cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 450°. Rinse chicken well and remove any leftover bits of organs that may be tucked away in the back bone. Remove any excessive fatty pieces that may be dangling off as well with kitchen shears as well as the chics little (or big) hiney (cut that maam’uh jam’uh off :). Lightly toss chicken bones and chopped vegetables in olive oil and place on a lined baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Arrange the bones on top of the mirepoix and roast for 45 to 55 minutes until nicely browned.
Remove from oven and place bones only in tall stockpot along with any juices and knarly bits that may have stuck to the sheet pan. Reserve mirepoix for use later in fridge. Fill stockpot with enough cool water to cover bones plus 2 inches of water. Make sure you are using a tall stockpot for your stocks because this will greatly reduce the evaporation of any liquids (a.k.a…YOUR STOCK!).
Place pot on moderate heat and bring to a simmer. This will take quite awhile, especially considering the fact that we filled the pot with cool water, but this is an important step. The cool water helps produce a more flavorful and clearer stock. It’s important to make sure that your stocks never boil either, for the same reasons I listed above.
Once your little guy has little bubbles breaking on the surface it’s time to set that timer. At this time you should probably do a little skimming off the top of the stock to remove any of that scummy looking foamy junk that’s probably floating around and discard. This is just the bones impurities seeping out. Let it continue to simmer as is for 3 hours. Pop your popcorn, turn on the tube and put your feet up. If you get bored,or just feel like checking out how Henrietta the Hen is doing on your stove top, have a looksie and do a little skimming of the surface again.
Once the timer has gone off (and the sun’s gone down..and you’re now comfy in your pjs) jump back into the kitchen and throw in your roasted (or unroasted..I’m not one to tell you how to live your life) veggies and your satchet and…
You guessed it. SeT tHaT tImEr!! 🙂 One more hour. You can see the light at the end of that tall, tall, stock pot I made you go buy. After said hour is complete, strain your stock through a mesh strainer or a colander lined with cheesecloth (if you feel like being fancy) into a couple of smaller metal containers (or heat proof storage containers) and let cool. Ideally you would then place these containers in an ice bath in your sink until they have cooled to 70 degrees (within 2 hours) before placing in the fridge to cool down to 40 degrees. I usually leave them in the fridge overnight and portion it up the next day. I get about 1 1/4 gallons out of this particular batch (about 20 or so cups) that I portion into 2 cup servings and freeze in freezer bags. Or, as I mentioned in my previous post, you can also freeze the stock in ice cube trays and once frozen store in ziploc bags for future recipe use. Your frozen delicious stock will keep in the freezer for 3 months and lasts in the fridge about 4 days (so freeze it!)
Now that the weather has turned a little cooler and you’re gettin’ feenin’s for soup, what do you crave? Any stock advice? Tips? Hit me up below!