Last Saturday morning, I felt like I was coming down with a bit of a cold. By Saturday evening that feeling was well on its way to a full blown cold. You can hit all the drugs and preventive medicines you want, but when it comes time to cure the cold, the only thing that really works is chicken soup. Chicken soup is magical. All mothers everywhere recognize its power. In addition, I think the soup itself is imbued with the power of the ancients. If you really want to amplify your chicken soup’s power, you need to make the chicken stock yourself. Does it take a while? It sure does. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
I’m going to walk you through the basic way that I made chicken stock this week. I didn’t have any bones lying around, so I did it this way. If you have some chicken bones, or a chicken carcass, you can always do that. This recipe will give you an incredibly rich and satisfying stock. Feel free to adjust some of the ingredients based on what you prefer. Here’s the list:
4 Pounds Chicken wings (We’re after the collagen in the joints, and the bones. Wings are best)
1 quart chicken broth (I know, seems odd, but trust me)
2 quarts water
Carrots (I used baby carrots, and rocked about twenty five)
Four Celery Stalks, broken
One onion, quartered
I sprig rosemary
Fresh Thyme (See picture. I would say it’s a few sprigs, or tablespoons. I’m not sure how it’s measured)
Fresh Sage (Again, see picture.)
Now for the process:
1.) Add all the ingredients to a pot large enough to accommodate
2.) Bring said ingredients to a boil.
3.) Once said boil is achieved, reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and simmer for one hour. Check on it occasionally.
4.) After the hour is up, remove the chicken wings. I place them in a colander and allow them to drain. We need them to cool here. Allow the liquid to remain at a simmer.
5.) Once the wings have cooled enough to handle, separate the meat from everything else. The meat goes into one bowl, and everything else goes into another bowl. This means bones, joints, skin, you know, all the good stuff.
6.) Save the meat. You’ll be using it later when you make your chicken soup. All the bones and other goodies go back into the liquid. A ton of flavor is in the chicken bones, and the collagen from the joints and skin is going to give your stock a thicker texture. It will make you think there is a lot of fat in the stock, buts it’s actually just gelatin. Bring the bones, veggies, herbs, and liquid back to a simmer.
7.) Allow the stock to simmer. You want it to simmer away for about as long as you have. I let mine go for about six hours. Don’t crank the heat up and reduce the cooking time. That won’t work. That never works… We’re trying to break down the joints and the bones. Time is needed. Minimum I would simmer this is about five hours. After eight hours you are just beating a dead chicken with a stick.
8.) Now, separate the tasty liquid from all the solids that gave their all to make this stock happen. Strain it well. We don’t want the chunky-floaties in our stock.
9.) At this point, you have stock. I recommend letting it cool overnight. This resting will allow all the fat to rise to the surface, and the cooling will make the fat solidify. After that, you can remove the fat, and you will be left with nothing but stock.
You may notice after your stock cools that it has obtained the consistency of loose Jell-O. This is exactly what you want. At this point, you can decide how to store your chicken broth. For us, this went straight into some chicken noodle soup. Since I know you all care so much, I am feeling all better today. The soup did its trick. Actually, it didn’t do any tricks. The soup did its job. Tune in next time and see some of the things that we like to do with our chicken stock. Until then, stay healthy!