Monday, January 18, 2010

It's STOCK time!

OK folks participating in the cook-along...this week we're making STOCK.

Stock is a very useful and versatile pantry staple. It's available at the store, but you can easily make it at home. One of the biggest advantages of making your own stocks (aside from it being ridiculously easy and cheap) is that you can make it free of salt or preservatives, making it a much more healthy choice.

There are three basic types of stock recipes call for: Chicken, Beef and Vegetable.

For this leg of the cook along, we're going to make a basic chicken stock.

Chicken stock is amazingly versatile. One of my favorite things to do with it is using it in place of milk when making mashed potatoes. Once when I was sick, D was making mashed potatoes with dinner and he apologized because he couldn't replicate mine! He was using milk. In fact, the last time I made buttermilk mashed potatoes, the kids refused to eat them. Another great use for stock is when cooking rice. It gives just a little boost of flavor. Also, whenever I make a sauce, to lighten it up, I use half stock and half cream. BUT, since this is cooking 101, I think making sauces is getting a bit ahead of ourselves.

So, let's get started!

When making your chicken stock, you need:

Crock pot
Water
Chicken
onions
carrots
bay leaf
salt
pepper

Now, for the chicken you have two options. First, you can use chicken bones and skin from a previously cooked chicken. Second choice, you can poach an uncooked chicken. The method is the same, it's just a matter of using bones vs uncooked chicken.

Spray your crockpot with non-stick spray.

Dice up your onions and chop the carrots. Place those along with the chicken in a crockpot and cover it all with water. Toss in a bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper. I always use a large pinch of Kosher salt and several twists around of my pepper mill.

Turn the crockpot on low and let it simmer at least 4 hours.

After you've cooked your stock, strain it to get rid of large chunks and the veggies. Then chill it and allow the fat to come to the top. Skim off the fat. Store your stock in freezer bags. One great idea I recently came across was to freeze the stock in ice cube trays and then put them in to bags. That way you can grab as much or as little as you need!

So...let's see your stocks and what you do with them!

My creation will be coming tomorrow :)

Soo...what have you done?

3 comments:

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  3. Don't forget the celery to your stock! It makes a big difference. I often buy family packs of chicken thighs for my soup, for about $5.00 for 3 pounds!

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Thanks and have a great day!