Saturday, March 14, 2015

Chicken Stock from Scratch

This recipe is a combination of a rich chicken bone broth and a vegetable stock. I use this as the base for all my soups and well as sipping on it alone during cold winter months. It is full of minerals and nutrients like magnesium, potassium and calcium. Because of the long simmer of the chicken bones it also contains the bonus of collagen, great for your skin and nails.  

Homemade chicken stock adds robust richness and depth of flavor to your homemade soups. Have you ever drank a mug of store bought chicken broth?  Probably not. THIS stock is so good you can heat it up and slurp it down with nothing but a little added salt. 

I developed this recipe over many years taking some ideas from Rebecca Katz's Magic Mineral Broth (which is great for those going through cancer treatments or for healing digestive troubles), and the vegetable stock my Chef and I created during my time at Google. This recipe calls for starting the bones simmering first, for 3 hours. Then add the vegetables and simmer for 2 more hours. This helps to not overcook the vegetables. 2 hours is all you need to get the best flavor without anything turning bitter.

We drink chicken soup when we are sick, in fact we crave it, so our body is smarter than we think.  Chicken stock settles the stomach when we are sick, but it does so much more. A good cup of chicken stock helps with boosting gut health and fighting inflammation. I am currently doing a 30 day juice cleanse and on the super cold days or really long, hectic work days, I have been warming up a mug of this and it really helps to get me through. Plus adding in all the nutrients I am not getting through food.  

The difference between chicken stock and bone broth:
Bone broth typically has an acid in it like vinegar to help release the collagen from the bones and is cooked for an extended time, sometimes 24 hours. You end up with a gelatin like consistency once the broth cools in the fridge. I am calling my recipe stock, because I do not add the vinegar and it does not cook as long.  Mine is a 5 hour, semi bone broth, because it does come out slightly thick.

If you want to try out a traditional bone broth, here are two of my favorite recipes: Nom Nom Paleo and Zenbelly, both fantastic Paleo bloggers.

Bone broth has been getting a lot of attention in the media for it's health benefits. Could it be possible that we will be seeing people sipping on a mug of bone broth instead of coffee?  It is already happening in New York City. And another article, featuring quotes from Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo, talks about how bone broth has been a part of our culture since the Stone Age.

My stock pot is 12 quarts, a pretty big one. If you do not have a pot this big, take the recipe down to half. 

CHICKEN STOCK



Ingredients
5# chicken bones, can be made up of wings, necks, legs and backs
2 medium yellow onions, peels removed and chopped into quarters
5 medium carrots, chopped into quarters
5 celery stalks, chopped into quarters
1 leek, well washed, white and light green parts, cut into 3 inch pieces
1 small celery root, peeled and cut in large chunks
1 fennel bulb, fronds removed, cut in large chunks
6 medium garlic cloves, peeled, left whole
6 sprigs thyme
10 sprigs parsley
3 grams dried mushrooms
15 peppercorns
12 Juniper Berries
2” piece Kombu
2 bay leaves

Procedure:

1.  Place chicken parts in large stock pot and cover with water to about 3 inches above the chicken. Place over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, (about 20 minutes) reduce heat until gently simmering. Let simmer 2 hours.  While chicken is simmering, gather the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.

2.  Add the remaining ingredients and fill the pot with more water until the vegetables are covered with about 3 inches of water. Bring heat back up to high, and bring to a boil, once boiling reduce heat to about medium, or to where the water is gently bubbling.  Let simmer for 2 hours.

3.  Remove from heat and let cool about 1 hour on the stove. Strain the stock by pouring through a chinoise, or fine mesh strainer into a heat resistant container. This could be another large pot, do not go directly into something plastic while the stock is still hot. If you do not have a fine mesh strainer, line a regular strainer with cheesecloth and pour stock through.

4.  If you have a layer of fat at the top of the stock, pour into a gravy separator, (you know, that thing you use only once a year on Thanksgiving?)  This helps to separate the fat from the stock.  If you do not have one of these, it is ok, the fat with harden once in the fridge and can be spooned off the next day before final storage in the fridge or freezer.

5.  Leave containers on the counter to completely cool, about another hour.  Cover and place in refrigerator.  If you are not going to use stock within the next 5 days, place in the freezer until ready to use. Will last about 5 days in the fridge and 3 months in the freezer. 


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