I am a champion procrastinator. I can always find something that is more “important” to do than studying. It’s not necessarily something that I’m proud of, but it does come in handy sometimes, especially those times where I would basically rather do anything else. Take, for example, my junior year of college: I convinced myself that I needed to take a break from studying for my organic chemistry final exam by driving a half an hour away to Horrock’s. (Horrock’s is a local Michigan farm market — for the longest time I thought that there was only one of them in my hometown, but discovered that there was another closer to Grand Valley, where I went to school. Hence, the trip.)
Last year, my roommate and I would regularly procrastinate by going to dinner, movies, the bar (a definite favorite), or just randomly exploring Grand Rapids. Now that I don’t have a roommate anymore, I have to get a little more crafty with my excuses. This coming week I have an exam in pharmaceutics, which is guaranteed to be ridiculous. So, I convinced myself that I really needed to try my hand at making homemade chicken stock. The reason? My boyfriend is coming to visit next weekend (yay!), and what I’m making him for dinner calls for chicken stock.
Nonetheless, I’ve been meaning to try this out for quite a while. And I had a 6 hour long study group session earlier today, so I think my chicken stock making break was quite well deserved.
I’m very happy with how this turned out. First of all, it took minimal preparation — you basically roughly chop everything, throw it in a big pan, and leave it alone to boil. It also tastes absolutely fantastic. I could have eaten it right out of the pan (after it was strained, of course). Canned chicken stock can’t even begin to compare to this stuff. I adapted my recipe from this one from Alton Brown. I scaled it down quite a bit (there is no way I need 5 quarts of chicken stock!), and changed the amounts of some ingredients. I bought a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken from Meijer, took all the meat off the bones and used the leftover parts for the stock. The recipe I’m going to list on here is what I used, but this recipe is very open to changes, so feel free to make it the way you like it. I would stay away from adding salt until it’s completely done — you will need to keep adding water as the stock boils and it will eventually reduce down, so the taste of it will change.
I took a lot of pictures during the process, so I think I’ll post this in a step-by-step fashion.
Homemade Chicken Stock
Source: Alton Brown
Makes: about 3 cups
1 rotisserie chicken, all meat removed
1 large carrot, cut into large chunks
1 small onion, cut into quarters
1 stalk celery, cut into large chunks
10-15 whole peppercorns
4 sprigs fresh thyme
10 sprigs fresh parsley
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1) Place all ingredients into a large stock pot.
2) Add enough water to cover the ingredients.
3) Bring to a boil on high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 6-8 hours (I simmered mine for 5 because I got tired and wanted to go to bed. It turned out just fine though.) If any scum floats to the top during boiling, strain it off with a slotted spoon or sieve. Add hot water as needed to keep the bones and vegetables submerged.
(notice that after only two hours this stuff is already darker and richer in color than canned chicken broth…)
4) Strain out all of the cooked pieces with a fine meshed sieve, then discard.
5) Season the stock to taste with salt. Immediately freeze or refrigerate stock, or grab a spoon and eat it right out of the container!