Saturday, March 6, 2010

Basic chicken stock

This recipe has become a major staple in my weekend cooking. Whenever my local supermarket has a special on skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts, I stock up. I wrap them individually in plastic wrap and freeze then so I can just take one out the night before I'm planning on using it.

My reason for wanting to make my own is probably the same as everyone else's. I want to control the salt (and the type of salt), and the type of chicken that goes into the stock. Yes, I'm aware that I can just buy stock in a carton (and I sometimes do!) but when you make your own stock, you get the stock, and the chicken meat. Sometimes I use the chicken meat in whatever soup I'm making, and sometimes, I'll wrap and freeze it. Shredded chicken freezes pretty well!

This is what I use for a light chicken stock, as in, you probably wouldn't want to add any water to this when using it for another recipe.


Olive oil (enough to generously coat the bottom of the pan)
1 large skin-on, bone-in chicken breast, rinsed and seasoned with salt and pepper.
1/2 an onion, roughly chopped
1 carrot, scrubbed and cut into quarters
2 stalks of celery (or about 4-6 celery tops)

Heat a large saucepan or dutch oven over med-high heat. Make sure the pan is well-heated before adding the oil, otherwise your chicken will stick.

Place the chicken skin-side down, and cook for about 4 minutes (the skin will get brown and crispy, and the fat and flavour will render out). Using tongs, flip the chicken so it is skin-side up, and cook for another 4 minutes. You can also use the tongs to "press" the chicken on its side so skin/flesh on the side gets cooked (hey, more fat, more flavour!).

Add the onion, carrots and celery, and cook for about 4 minutes, until onions slightly brown.
Pour 8 cups of water over the chicken, reduce heat to medium, cover, and bring to a simmer (about 30 minutes).

Remove chicken and cut through to see that it's cooked thoroughly. If it is, let it cool on a cutting board or plate. It not, return to pot and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Then remove again to see that it's cooked throroughly. Cool, and remove meat from bones, discarding the skin.

I like to let the stock simmer for another 30 minutes after the chicken has been removed.

Use a slotted spoon to remove vegetables, and discard. Let the stock cool and skim off fat.

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