Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chicken Stock for the Soul

Audrey says it's pretty hard to mess up chicken stock but I dunno... I think the commercial chicken stock available in the supermarket is evidence to the contrary. In my opinion Kitchen Basics is the best of them and I'll use it in a pinch but mostly I try to keep a freezer stocked with stock.  I mean, it's so easy.. and nothing makes a house smell like home more than a big stockpot of chicken on the stove.  I look for chicken on sale and freeze it. Then when the time comes, thaw your chicken (in this case it's thighs), put it in a pot with enough water to cover, add salt, peppercorns, some garlic, some onion and even some herbs. Today I had some parsley that had seen better days so into the pot it went!  Bring it to a gentle boil and then reduce to a low simmer. Don't forget to skim! 

I cook mine for a long time, a couple of hours minimum, to get every last bit of flavor from the chicken. When it's time, I remove all the chicken and flavorings and then strain the stock into this nifty device which separates the fat from the broth. I use a fine mesh strainer and line it with a double layer of cheesecloth.

Now, I know technically this isn't stock because I am using meat rather than just chicken bones. But I guess I have come to need the extra punch of flavor offered by broth as opposed to stock. And, truth be told, it's the aromatherapy from the simmering broth that I value as much as the product itself. When you're having "one of those days" and feel like reaching for an anxiety pill, try simmering some chicken broth instead. It works wonders, promise!

I am headed to Whole Foods tomorrow if I can stand the cold and get the provisions for 2 French Laundry recipes so y'all come back and check me next week.

See you soon.

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