Friday, March 26, 2010

Making Chicken Stock

The most amazing chicken stock batch yet!Image by Librarianguish via Flickr

I use chicken stock for a lot of things... well, not a lot of things, but a couple important things. Chicken soup and aji de gallina. In Peru, people seem to take their chicken soup very seriously, and if you want a good soup, you need to start with a good stock. This is how I do it.

Start with a pollo a la braza. If you're in the US, a rotisserie chicken from your grocery store will do.

Pick all the meat off - we usually eat the legs/thighs, then use the breast to make something else. Save all your bones!

Put the carcass minus the meat in a large stock pot. Add a whole onion, a carrot or two and a couple sticks of celery if you like that sort of stuff. (I do NOT like celery and never use it for anything.) Add a bay leaf and I like to add about 1/2 teaspoon of basil.

And a teaspoon of salt. I'd rather not add too much now, because I might use this for soup, and I might use it for aji de gallina, or ... who knows what else. I just want to have the salt content under control before I use it for something else.

Cover it with water, and bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer for a couple hours.

Let it cool, then strain it to get all bones, veggies etc out of it.

What you've got now is a couple liters of super tasty chicken stock.

Why is it stock, and not broth? Generally, stock is made from boiling the bones. Broth is made from boiling meat. Stock gets gelatin from the bones, so it's better for using in sauces and stuff, dontcha know. Broth tends to have a richer flavor, and tastes more like a finished product that stock.

Speaking of stock and gelatin - If you have the feet from your chicken, clean them well, cut off the toe tips, and throw them in with the carcass. They give the stock a really nice texture - and you can just strain them out later and toss them if the idea of chicken feet in your soup grosses you out. ;)
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