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Getting Down to Basics

Learn how to make your own stock and not only will you save money, but your dishes will taste better and you'll have control over what ingredients go into your stock.

In my restaurant we make a fresh soup each day during the summer and we make two or three different soups daily in the colder months. Every great soup starts with a great stock and once you see how easy it is to make your own, you’ll toss out all those sodium laden store-bought brands.

This recipe will deal with chicken stock, which is the base not only for many soups, but it’s also used in sauces, gravies and other recipes. So you can see why it’s a necessary staple to have on hand.

You’ll notice that this recipe calls for no salt. This allows you to season each recipe you use the stock in without over-salting your dish.

Make this up in the evening while relaxing or on a weekend. You can be doing other tasks while this easy stock cooks itself. It’s one of the easiest things you’ll ever make in your kitchen. Throw everything in a pot and walk away for three hours!

To make sure you always have some on hand; allow the stock to cool after making it. Then put in 1 pint freezer safe containers and freeze. When you find yourself in need of some stock, just take out of the as many as you need.  

If you find you make lots of recipes that only call for a few tablespoons of stock, freeze some in ice cube trays or muffin tins. Once frozen, pop them out and store in freezer bags or containers.  This way you’ll have both larger and smaller quantities frozen and ready for any recipe.

Basic Chicken Stock

4 to 5 pound chicken, with bones and skin; either cut up or whole

5 large celery ribs; cut into large chunks. Use the leafy part too which adds great flavor to the stock.

4 large carrots; cut into large chunks. You don’t have to peel them and you can leave the ends on too.

1 large onion; do not peel it. Cut into large chunks.

1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns

1 small bunch flat leaf parsley. This has much more flavor than the curly parsley.

3 quarts water. Use additional water if needed to cover chicken
completely.

Directions

1.  Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a simmer  and simmer for approximately 3 hours.  Skim any foam off the top of the stock as it cooks.

2.  Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve and discard all the bones, skin and vegetables. 

3.  Allow the chicken to cool and when cool enough to handle, pick through and save the good pieces of meat. Set aside.

4.  After cooling the strained stock, put it in one pint containers and it will keep in your refrigerator for up to 5 days or in your freezer for 3 months. 

Chef’s Tips:  Uses for the chicken you set aside. Add pieces of the chicken to some of your freshly made stock and a few fresh vegetables and you’ve got your first batch of chicken soup. Or, dice up some celery and onion into the chicken with a little mayo and you’ve got a tasty chicken salad. Try tossing some pieces of chicken into a sauce and top some pasta with it.  Like I always say; be creative and think of new uses for your foods.

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