Friday, February 6, 2009

Chicken Stock

I absolutely love to make chicken stock! I feel so resourceful, thrifty, domestic etc. It makes the house smell wonderful and tastes great. I hate wasting food, and so I always make stock anytime I eat meat off the bone. The result is so much better than the cheap Swanson broth in a can. The rich stock you make yourself would easily cost you $8 + at the grocery store. For me, it is so worth the time and effort.

Here's a few tips on making chicken stock.

You must start out with cold water. Yes, it will come to a boil faster if you use hot water, but the stock will not taste very good. When you use cold water, as the water heats up, it penetrates the vegetables and chicken bones, drawing out their flavors. If you start with hot water, the heat cooks the outside of the veggies and seals them off, so it's hard to extract flavor from them.

Also, you need to use salt. Salt breaks down the cellular barrier of the veggies and helps draw out their flavors. But, using too much salt will make it difficult to control the saltiness of any dish that you use the stock in.

If you want nice, pretty, clear stock you need to be sure that you simmer it not boil it. If you boil it, it will turn out cloudy (like mine did the last time - I was in a hurry and it's hot so I didn't want it simmering away for hours on end). It still tastes great, but it doesn't look as nice.

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