Monday, August 8, 2011

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock For Cooking

I've been MIA for a few months and although I've been thinking a lot about cooking and writing, none is really getting done. I took a job in April as Head Baker at Jake's Gluten Free Market. The market has been around for about 10 years but the bakery was just added in April. I have to admit I was a little apprehensive, as I've never worked in a commercial bakery before and now I was going to be opening one! Coordinating family schedules hasn't been easy, but just like every other time, we seem to adjust and adapt in some way that meets the demands. Unfortunately, getting up early, working a physically demanding job and then dealing with an energetic toddler the rest of the day hasn't left me with any excess energy for cooking or baking at home. One recipe that has really saved me from subsisting on fast food and cold cereal these past few months has been homemade chicken and vegetable stock.

The first time I made my own stock was in October of 2009. I admit that I'm not big on leftovers, but I don't like to waste food either. The one thing I never had any desire to re-purpose though, was the leftover chicken or turkey carcass. Eww! Just saying the word carcass makes me gag! I don't even like getting close enough to the bones to cut off all the meat. We usually ended up throwing out enough for a good batch of soup. I remember watching mom while she meticulously picked off every bit of meat after the Thanksgiving meal. She made some delicious dishes with those leftovers, and I could even enjoy them if I forced that visual out of my head!

When trying to reduce the amount of sodium in our diet from canned foods and continue my effort to make everything homemade at least once, I tried a recipe posted on by Nana Lee for Homemade Chicken Stock For Cooking. I couldn't believe I was using chicken bones and whole vegetables... without waste! I was so excited about it that I made Bryan and Nick come look into the pot. Of course, they expected some delicious looking meal to accompany the aroma filling the kitchen. Instead, they stood stunned wondering what the heck had gotten into me, when they saw celery leaves & onion peels floating around with chicken bones! And there I was, also wide-eyed, but instead of bewilderment I looked like Christmas had come early!

I've made several different stocks and broths since that first time and I love that I can simply toss all my vegetable ends and leaves into a large Ziploc baggie that I keep in the freezer, until I have enough for a batch of stock. I also freeze the chicken bones now too and having these items handy in the freezer has allowed me to make healthy, homemade soups while we're adjusting to our busy new schedules. I started my stock-making with Nana Lee's recipe because her instructions are well-written, detailed and with a sense of humor. It felt like my own grandma was standing there teaching me her family recipe and gave me the confidence to attempt what I thought was going to be complicated, and... Well, gross. It wasn't at all what I expected and the end result is amazing. I encourage everyone to try this. I make a batch when I have enough chicken and/or veggies to boil down and then freeze it in 2 cup portions. Use it just like you would a can of chicken or vegetable broth, but with the knowledge that it's fresh, low/no salt and free of preservatives.

Another of my favorite recipes is posted on by Sharon123. This one has a light tomato base that adds a hearty flavor and rich, beautiful color.

Herb and Garlic Broth - Aigo Bouido

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy to hear you are not just ok but being extremely productive with your new enterprise. Wish I was closer to drop in and have taste. I have a nephew as well as his son who were diagnose with gluten intolerant; so I am now aware how frequent this is. Many people are desperate to have shops like yours. Congratulations, but plese don't work too hard.
    Great looking chicken broth.


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