chefMed


Chicken Stock and Vegetable Rice by joec3
December 4, 2013, 1:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

By Andrew Welleford

Last time we talked about roasting chickens. If you’ve been saving chicken carcasses, then the next logical step is to make chicken stock! Chicken stock is a great thing to have around the kitchen: you can use it to make rice, casseroles, soups, stews, curries, and more! Making stock with leftovers is also economical way to make nutritious and delicious meals at home. Best of all, the process of making stock is low-maintenance. Once the pot is simmering you don’t need to spend any time in the kitchen, leaving you free to focus on other tasks.

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CrockPot Stock is about as low-maintenance as it gets.


First, a word on exactly what stock is. In contrast to broth (which is made only of meat and/or vegetables), stock is a liquid cooked with animal bones that may also include meat, vegetables, and seasoning. Bones, as we know from biochem, contain lots of collagen. When collagen is cooked in liquid, the strands separate and make an interconnected mesh that traps water and forms a gel. This gel thickens soups and stews and improves the texture of other dishes. Water-soluble nutrients and flavor compounds are also incorporated into the stock, which improves the taste and nutritional value of the final dish.

Fun fact: purified collagen is also called gelatin, which in its sweetened, colored, and flavored form is better known as Jello!

The key points of making stock are a long (2-6 hours) cooking time and low heat (the liquid should barely simmer as the stock cooks). This lets you extract all the goodness from the animal parts without any of the bitter taste you can get from a higher heat. You can use cooked or uncooked animal carcasses to make stock. Some people also add vegetables and vegetable scraps such as onion peels and carrot tops. You can also add herbs and spices, which are more effective when added at the end of cooking time so they don’t lose their aroma.

Personally I make stock with only animal parts, usually the roasted bones of whatever meat I’ve baked recently. I’ve found that if you cook some vegetables too long it gives the stock a bitter taste, so I just add vegetables to the final dish. Making stock with vegetables does allow you to add flavor without needing vegetable parts in the final dish, which some recipes call for. I encourage you to try both and see what works for you.

The basic procedure for making stock is as follows:

1. Break apart carcass by hand into manageable parts (makes it easier to fit into the pot). If your carcasses are frozen, or you don’t want to use your hands, the carcass should break apart easily with a spoon or tongs after 30 minutes of cooking.
2. Fill a saucepan, pot, stockpot, or crockpot with the animal and plant bits.
3. Fill the pot with water until all the contents are barely covered.
4. Bring to a simmer on high heat (only a few bubbles breaking the surface every second).
5. Reduce heat to low and keep the stock simmering, uncovered, for 2-6 hours. (Longer is better)
6. Every couple hours, skim the foam on the surface with a spoon and discard.
7. When you’re finished waiting, filter the stock to remove the large bits. You can pour the stock through a colander into another pot or bowl, or you can fish out the bits using a slotted spoon.

At this point the stock is can be used, but there will be a fair amount of fat mixed in. This fat can easily be removed by cooling the stock to room temperature, then refrigerating the stock overnight. The fat will solidify on top, and can be removed with a spoon. (By the way: you just made schmaltz, which is rendered chicken fat used in some ethnic cuisines.)

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The refrigerated stock. Notice how the stock sets into a gel: that’s what we’re looking for!

Congratulations! You just made delicious, low-fat, homemade chicken stock! I usually cook two chicken carcasses at a time and get 2-3 quarts of stock, which I separate into 2 cup portions and freeze. Whenever I need some stock for cooking, I just thaw in the microwave or throw it straight in the pot. This stock will add a rich flavor and succulent texture to any savory dish, like say…

Vegetable Rice

2 cups long-grain white rice
2 cups chicken stock
2 medium onions
2 carrots
2 ribs of celery
2 cloves of garlic
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes (with chilies if desired)
2 T cooking oil (olive, ect.)
2 t Salt, and other seasonings of your choice (I used an Adobo blend)

Chop onions, carrots, and celery into small evenly-sized pieces. Crush and mince garlic cloves. In a medium pot or a straight-sided pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rice, salt, and any other seasoning and stir. Add the chicken stock and diced tomatoes and stir until everything is evenly distributed. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot/pan, and cook for 25 minutes until the rice is finished.

(If your pot/pan is oven-safe, you can also bring the mix to a simmer on the stove and then bake at 350 °F for 25 minutes. This reduces the likelihood of overcooking the rice on the bottom.)

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The finished product.

This recipe is an example of a simple staple that you can make for very little money. In my next blog post I’ll talk more about staple meals and the logistics of cooking in bulk.

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