Sunday, February 17, 2013

Chicken Stock

Save up all of your bones in the freezer, and when you get a bunch of them (say, three pounds or more), make a big batch of stock and use it to make soup. Freeze the rest of the stock to use in soup later. The vinegar is to leach out the calcium and other minerals from the bones. You shouldn’t taste the vinegar in the stock or in the soups you make with it.

By the way, I include bones that I’ve chewed on. I make my stock in the slow cooker and cook it at least 24 hours. I figure that if there are any germs strong enough to survive that, they’re going to get me anyway! Out of consideration for the squeamishness of others, I wouldn’t use my chicken stock in a recipe that I’m serving to guests, and I wouldn’t use the bones that other people have chewed on. I’m sure they’d be safe and all, but I’m a bit squeamish, too.


3 lbs or more chicken bones, either raw or previously cooked
            (or use backs and necks and wingtips)
1/2 onion
1 stalk celery
1 T white or apple cider vinegar
2 to 3 quarts water
1 T poultry seasoning (optional)
Parsley, pepper, thyme, or other herbs (optional)

On top of the stove: Put everything in a big pot. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for at least 4 hours. Strain. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

In the slow cooker: Put everything in the slow cooker. Cook on low for at least 8 hours, preferably 12 or even 24 or more. The longer the better. Strain. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

In the pressure cooker: I've not made it in the pressure cooker, but I'm told you can. Process it for at least an hour, and 4 to 6 hours is even better. Strain. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

You may think that the stock is blah if you taste it by itself. That’s because there’s no salt in it. You’ll need to add salt when you make the soup, probably more than the recipe calls for. Most recipes assume that you’ll use canned chicken broth or stock, and they tend to be pretty salty.

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