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My BIG FAT Grain Free Life: Delicious Chicken Stock

Monday, November 28, 2011

Delicious Chicken Stock

I'd like to do a few soup recipes in the upcoming weeks, but wanted to begin by going back to the foundation of soup - the stock.

There was a time in my life when I thought chicken stock meant being armed with a sturdy can opener and a large quantity of cans labeled "chicken broth" neatly stacked in my pantry.  I had no idea people actually made their own "broth" or "stock" for chicken soup.  Well, I have seen the light!  

If you've never made your own chicken stock, and the thought of it makes you roll your eyes, please, PLEASE - try it.  Once you do, you will not be able to go back to the dark side.  Yes, I said it.  

Now listen, I'm not trying to be self righteous here.  I realize we're busy as moms.  But truly (would I lie to you?) chicken stock is so easy, requires little to no oversight as it cooks, and tastes delicious.  It's at least worth a try.  I usually make a batch or two of chicken stock and then freeze it so it's on hand any time I want to throw a quick soup together.

There IS a difference in the taste of things made from scratch and things poured out of a can.  It's true.  The last time I made chicken no-noodle soup, my son kept slurping up the broth and saying, "This broth tastes soooo good.  I just want to drink it."  Who needs more proof than that?

Delicious Chicken Stock 

Ingredients:

1 whole organic chicken (skin removed - at least most of it)
1-2 leeks, green and white parts
1 onion, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
4 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
4 carrots, peeled and cut in thirds or fourths
3-4 cloves garlic
5 bay leaves
small handful of fresh thyme, rinsed and left whole
5 whole peppercorns (optional)

Instructions:

Wash the leeks:  slice down the middle of the leeks lengthwise and cut into chunks.  Toss leeks in a clean bowl or sink of water and wash off the dirt.  

Smash garlic:  Take garlic cloves and smash with the flat side of a large knife.  This should break the skin off and make it easy to peel.  Leave whole.

In the largest stock pot you have, throw in the chicken, leeks, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns.  Fill pot with water to about an inch or two above the chicken.

Turn the heat on medium high.  You want to see about one or two bubbles breaking the surface and then turn the heat down to low.  You don't want to over boil this stock -   slow and steady is the way to a flavorful stock.  Turn the timer on for one hour.

Once the timer is up, carefully lift out the chicken and place in a bowl.  Keep pot on stove.  When cool enough to handle (I never let it cool) cut or pull the breast meat and big chunks of the dark meat off the bone and reserve to use in soup or another recipe.  Leave some of the meat on the bones.

Place the chicken bones back into the stock pot and continue cooking on low to medium low heat for another two to three hours.

What you're looking for:  The bones after the first hour will probably all still be intact.  Between the second and third hour of cooking, the bones should break apart.  This is what you want.  There's flavor in them bones!

Once the stock is finished cooking, over a large strainer or sieve placed into another pot or large bowl, strain the stock.  Press down on veggies to get as much of the goodness and flavor out of them as possible.  Discard veggies and bones.

Allow stock to cool and freeze, refrigerate, or use immediately in soup.

NOTE:  I use this same recipe for Turkey Soup the weekend after Thanksgiving.  We're having it for dinner tonight, in fact...

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