Anyone who has watched me cook knows that recipes are not generally my thing. Like our free range animals I take a free range approach to cooking. When it comes to making stock fire, ready and aim work well.
But it’s good to know that my ingredient meandering is generally on track with a recipe or two when I double check on what I have done. Here is a great example of that.
Found someone’s family secret that falls in line with my general process.
Here are the recipes that go along with the story above.
- 2 stewing hens about 5 lb. each
- 3 medium onions cut in half
- 4 large carrots trimmed and peeled
- 1 root end of a whole celery stalk, 4 inches long
- 3 medium fresh tomatoes cut in half
- 1 cup parsley, stems only
- ½ cup salt
- cold water to cover ingredients by 2 inches
Step One: Cook the broth
Combine total ingredients into a 20 qt. stock pot. Place over high heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce heat to hold a medium simmer for three hours. Use a large spoon to remove residue floating on surface. This residue is coagulated protein and will occur at first boil and decrease after you skim it for the first 15 minutes.
Step Two: Strain broth and de-bone chicken
Pour the broth through a large fine strainer. Save the chicken and de-bone while it is still warm. Discard extracted vegetables. Taste and adjust for salt. Refrigerate broth overnight. You can use the chicken for chicken soup or chicken salad.
Step Three: De-fat the broth
The next day, remove all of the solid fat on the surface of the refrigerated broth with a large spoon.
Make the following changes to the above recipe when making chicken stock:
- Use 12 to 15 lb. chicken bones instead of stewing hens*
- Increase the reduction time to 6 hours
The vegetables listed in the recipes for both stock and broth are the essential vegetables. While loading the stock pot, do not hesitate to gather some additional odds and ends from your refrigerator and freezer. Extra pieces of almost any root vegetable can be included such as a spare turnip, a piece of fennel root, a piece of jicama, etc. I save the rinds from Parmesan cheese and other aged hard cheeses and they make a wonderful addition to the stock pot. A small piece of beef knuckle bone is also a pleasant addition. When making the stock recipe, bear in mind the vegetables will give up their flavor in 3 hours of reduction, therefore it is not necessary to start your stock pot with the vegetables at the start. They can be added at any point you desire as long as they remain in the pot for the mandatory 3 hours.
I have found that making a large 20 qt, pot of stock or broth is easier to deal with than making it more often. I freeze this in one and two quart containers and keep a good size, non-reactive bowl in the refrigerator. To keep stocks and broths fresh in the refrigerator, you will need to put it in a sauce pot, bring to a boil, and hold at a full boil for ten minutes every third day. I like to keep the sauce pot covered to prevent further reduction. Use a clean non-reactive bowl when ready to refrigerate again. By following this schedule you can keep stocks and broths fresh for a long time. The only noticeable difference you will find is that the color of the stock or broth will darken slightly after repeated boiling but the flavor will remain intact.
Wonderful clear chicken soups can be made from the broth, and by adding a little water to lighten up the stock a very satisfactory soup can be made from this as well. No matter which you choose to use you can be assured that either is vastly superior to anything you may purchase in a can or cube. I prefer to use stock to de-glaze a sauté pan rather than broth. The stock also makes a great velouté which is one of the mother sauces that most serious cooks use frequently. Velouté is a great addition to a pan sauce, gravies and heavier soups. Its uses in the kitchen are endless and it is quite simple to make and stores very well under refrigeration.
Total ingredients to yield two quarts:
- 5 oz. butter
- 5 oz. all purpose flour
- 2 qt. Chicken stock
Step one: Make a roux
Melt butter in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Stir in flour and keep stirring with spatula until smooth. Cook gently over low heat for five minutes until barely golden. Do not brown.
Step two: Finish the sauce
Slowly whip in the stock which must be hot. When all the stock has been incorporated bring to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and pour through a fine strainer. Refrigerate until used.
Altitude Adjustment: At 8,000 feet add 30 minutes to the broth recipe, and one hour to the stock recipe. Prorate accordingly.