I started the makings of chicken stock on Sunday,and I am following up with my stock making method today now that it is complete. Chicken stock is a simple, basic kitchen staple that every pantry needs. And why not make you own? It is simple and you are in control of the ingredients. Homemade stock not only tastes fresh and clean, it is economical.
I start with about 4 or so pounds of chicken backs, necks and maybe wings that I have saved up in the freezer.
I put those in a big stock pot and cover with cold water by an inch or so (maybe 4 1/2-5 1/2 qts), which I then bring up to a boil. I then turn the heat down to a simmer and let it do it's thing for about 30 minutes or so. During this initial simmering time, a scum of impurities will form on the surface. Just skim it off with a skimmer several times. It looks gross, but it is just part of the process.
I quarter up a whole, unpeeled onion, a celery stalk or two, a carrot or two, and some fresh parsley if I have some. I add these to the pot along with 3-4 whole cloves, 4-5 peppercorns, 1-2 bay leaves, and a tablespoon of dried Bouquet Garni that I put in a tea ball. Next, the stock simmers over low heat for 3-5 hours. I add about 2-3 teaspoons of salt after about 2 hours of cooking.
Then, I strain out the big stuff in a colander which I have set over another pot in the sink.
I cover this pot with a lid and put it into the fridge for up to 5 days until I'm ready to finish making the stock. When I'm ready, the fat has solidified at the top which I skim off.
A clean pot is waiting which I have set a strainer over lined with a double layer of cheesecloth to catch all those little impurities and rather gross looking gunk that is lurking in what will soon be tasty broth.
Now that the broth is strained, I can put it up in containers and freeze it, or I can pressure can it. Today, I chose to pressure can my stock. I bring it to a boil in the clean pot, taste for salt, to which I did add about another teaspoon, and then I ladled it into jars, wiped, sealed, and put in the pressure canner. I processed for 25 min. at 15# of pressure for my altitude. I got 4 quarts and 2 pints. Yes, I know I could have just made 5 quarts, but I also like to have smaller jars on hand for smaller cooking projects. The pints processed with the quarts, so they got an extra 5 min. processing time. No damage or detriment to the product, though.
This stock is very tasty and works every time. You can add more vegetables or salt to your liking. My mother would freeze some in ice cube trays and then put in a plastic bag. Whenever she wanted to make gravy she would pull out a couple of cubes and whip some up.