Making chicken stock is the most useful and delicious form of therapy that I’ve come across.
A few pounds of cheap chicken parts and some aromatics make for a relaxing afternoon of gently creating a versatile broth that is healthier and tastier than the crap that comes in one of those odd cardboard containers from Swanson.
Low temperature is key here. You want to gently extract all the good stuff from the chicken bones. Roughing up the bones with a cleaver helps accelerate this process, but you’ll still need 2-3 hours of mostly passive cooking time, so pour yourself some wine and live your best life for an afternoon. Do some other prep (like toasted breadcrumbs, charred chile condiment, or ginger scallion sauce) to fill in the gaps.
- 2-3 lb chicken backs or entire chicken carcass, chopped into 2 inch pieces to maximize surface area
- 1 whole onion
- 2 large carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces
- Ginger, coriander seeds, cilantro or parsley stems for added flavor (optional)
- Fill a large soup pot with water and bring to a boil. Add chicken parts and blanche for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse, then re-fill the pot with water then re-add the chicken parts and bring to a simmer over medium heat…you’re shooting for a slow simmer, not a rolling boil. Use a small strainer or slotted spoon to skim off any brown scummy bits that rise to the top.
- Heat oven to 375 F, place whole onion in a small pan or rimmed baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, slice in half, and add to the simmering stock pot along with the carrots. For a lighter stock, skip the roasting process and just add the whole raw onion cut in half.
- Continue simmering the stock for a couple hours. Drink some wine. Put on a movie. Stir occasionally then add any other aromatics like ginger, coriander, or herbs for the last 30 minutes or so.
- Remove all of the solids from the pot using tongs or a spider
- Strain into a bowl using a fine-mesh strainer. Re-strain back into the pot and then back into the bowl to ensure all the solid bits are removed from the stock.
- Transfer stock to some small containers, label, and refrigerate or freeze.
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