Friday, January 24, 2014

Chicken Soup and Stock

You can buy chicken stock—even organic free range—but it is not even close to homemade--and, it's easy to make. Homemade chicken stock is much richer and will make anything you use with it taste better. You can also make chicken stock from leftover bones with any remaining meat--from a roast or rotisserie chicken.

Some cooks make chicken stock by adding the chicken and cooking it to death and then throwing away the tasteless chicken. There is no reason to do this! Instead, cook chicken until it's done--about an hour if cut into pieces--then return the bones to the pot so they can continue to add flavor to the stock.

Chicken Stock
1 chicken, cut into 8 pieces (do not use organs; neck is fine)
1 onion, quartered, skin on
2 stacks celery, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
1 parsnip, roughly chopped
1 turnip, roughly chopped
Handful parsley (can put in a piece of cheese cloth)
Salt and pepper
Put chicken pieces into a large pot, add remaining ingredients and fill with water. When water comes to a boil, lower hit to a medium simmer and skim off any scum that forms on the top. Boil for about an hour. Remove meat and reserve. When meat is cool, discard skin and remove meat from bones. Throw bones (and any of the vegetables) back into the pot and simmer for at least another hour. Occasionally check water level. You can simmer for hours, if desired. Remove bones and vegetables (a Chinese slotted spoon is perfect.) Whatever stock you don't need can be frozen and stored in plastic or glass containers. Fat will rise to top when chilled and can be removed.

Chicken stock from Bones
Put chicken bones and any remaining bits of meat into a stock pot and follow recipe above. Cook for 2-3 hours.  

Chicken Soup
Chicken cut or torn into bite-sized pieces
Root vegetables—carrot, celery, parsnips, turnips, celery root, jicama, etc cut into bite-sized pieces
Brown or white rice or pasta
Broccoli, Kale, spinach, peas, seaweed (optional)
Lemon zest (optional)
Heat stock and add root veggies and white rice and cook 20 minutes. If using brown, add 25 minutes earlier. If using pasta, cook separately and add at end.  Add other vegetables and chicken for last 5 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.  Plate soup and add lemon zest to bowl.

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