Homemade chicken stock

Posted by on Oct 3, 2013 in Recipes by Karen Gros | 0 comments

Homemade chicken stock

As everyone knows, chicken soup feeds the soul; it also highly nourishes the body, and is the foundation for a wide array of soups and sauces.

Homemade chicken stock is easy to make, it only needs to become a habit.  I make a large stock pot nearly every week, using real free-range chicken (the kind that eat grass and bugs!) from a local farmer.  Those who buy locally grown, organic foods know that they are more costly.  But, you don’t need to buy premium chicken parts to use in the stock.  The best parts are the most unappealing ~ chicken feet, necks, and backs.  Chicken feet are very desirable, as they impart tons of gelatin; vital for healthy hair, nail and joints, gelatin consists of the collagen extracted from an animal’s skin and (mostly) bones, including feet and hooves (or feet!)  Gelatin facilitates digestion, supports joint health, and helps prevent and mitigate infectious diseases*.

Ingredients:

1 package chicken feet
1 package chicken necks
1 package chicken backs
3 medium carrots, scrubbed & quartered
3 celery stalks, quartered
1 onion (I usually use yellow, or whatever is on hand)
1 handful leek greens, washed (optional)
1/4 t. whole black peppercorn
4 dried bay leaves
1 T. mild vinegar, such as apple cider or rice (vinegar aids in drawing the minerals out of the bones)

stock_ingredientsChicken stock is simple to make and has a wide range of uses.
Any French Chef will tell you that without stock, nothing is possible.

1.  Place all ingredients in a large stockpot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a brief boil, skim impurities (off flavors can results if the broth is not skimmed); reduce to a simmer.  Cook all day (and up to 2 days) on low; for safety I turn off the flame at night and resume the simmer the following morning.

2.  Strain ingredients into a large bowl using a fine-mesh strainer; cool, and refrigerate overnight.  The next morning, skim the layer of fat that has risen to the surface.  As this point, you may simmer the broth a second time until it reduces by half ~ a space saver!  Store in small airtight containers, or pour stock into an ice cube tray; freeze and use as a base for soups and sauces, or to enrich a pot of beans or as the cooking liquid for whole grains, such as rice and quinoa.

chicken_feet_necksChicken feet and necks available from RP Cattle every Thursday at the Eureka Springs Farmers’ Market
(hope this photo doesn’t scare you off!)

holy_trinityThis is what I refer to as the Holy Trinity of cooking ~ I have these three staples on hand all the time

chicken_stock_warmThe final product:  This is what I call “liquid gold”, the French call it “glace de poulet

stock_room tempSo rich in gelatin, it’s thick and wiggly at room temperature (downright solid when chilled)

* Source:  Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon