Let’s Make a Chicken + Chicken Stock.

chicken1

Well, no baby yet so let’s cook something tasty for dinner and pat ourselves on the back.

I am embarrassed to say that I have not made chicken stock until recently. I always meant to, but found it intimidating and daunting for some reason. Let me be the 100th person to tell you– it is a cinch! Don’t be scared. It has much more flavor than store bought stock, it is way cheaper, and you can utilize that chicken carcass and wilted vegetables in your crisper. Also, you feel like a domestic god/goddess. Win win.

First off, you need to make a chicken. I made this Braised Chicken in Milk last week and it was heaven. The rosemary, lemon, onions, garlic, and everything else went so well together. Plus the potatoes are delicious! A few other recipes I’ve had success with are this Herbed Faux-tisserie Chicken & Potatoes, Roast Provencal Chicken, Herbs de Provence Chicken, and also this Mediterranean Chicken.

Roasting and/or braising a chicken is not hard, but there are a few essential maneuvers you must heed:

  1. Always check the chicken’s cavity for any remaining giblets or extra bits. Even if the package says they have been removed. I neglected to do this the first time I made a chicken and let’s just say… we had cereal for dinner that night.
  2. Always wash off your chicken (inside and out) and dry it thoroughly.
  3. Have your chicken at room temperature when you begin cooking.
  4. Use a meat thermometer so you’re not constantly checking the chicken and bringing down the oven temperature.
  5. Make sure to see what size chicken your recipe tells you to use because that can majorly alter the roasting time.

And that’s it! You don’t need a large, fancy roasting pan. Yes, that would be lovely, but you can use a dutch oven, a baking dish, or a cast iron skillet.

After you have picked the bones dry of your insanely tasty chicken, you have a killer carcass or jumble of chicken pieces to make stock. I usually put the carcass in the fridge and make it the next day, but you could always freeze it and do later. You will need a large pot (mine is an 8 quart size), a sieve or colander, and glass or freezer safe jars.

Homemade Chicken Stock:

Yield: 10 Cups

In a large pot, combine:

1 carcass of a 3-4 pound chicken (or combined parts)
1 teaspoon black or mixed peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 celery stalks, chopped in half
1 large onion, roughly chopped, skins left on or off
2 carrots, roughly chopped
3 parsley sprigs
3 thyme sprigs
1 teaspoon sea salt

Cover everything with cold water and bring to a boil. Skim off any foam and let simmer for 1.5 hours. Let stock cool, remove carcass and large pieces, and then strain. Pour into your jars and label.

Stock keeps in the fridge for 4 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Photo by Ashley of Not Without Salt. Her blog is so fab. Check it out.

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