Last night at a business cocktail event I was talking to my friend Lani about cooking. She told me how she had made the same recipe a second time, but it didn’t turn out as well as it had the first time. When she remarked this to the friend who had given her the recipe, the friend asked if she had been in a good mood when she made it. She said, “You know what, I wasn’t.”
You see – she wasn’t making it with LOVE! You must be in happy place when cooking and your food will always taste better!
Well, it’s better to be in a happy, loving place all the time anyway, right?
It is also always best to make your own chicken stock. It’s really very, very easy and you feel so professional and accomplished when you do it. At least I do! If you make it yourself, you know exactly what’s in it AND you control the salt. And when you make it with LOVE, it’s happy chicken stock! When finished, it keeps easily in the freezer. Dividing it into several different sized containers – 1, 2 and 4 cup increments – works well.
TIP: And here’s a tip from my oldest son. Even if you just need a ¼ cup or so, thaw the frozen broth in the microwave for a minute or two, just so you can dump it out of the container in one piece on a cutting board and then carefully cut off what you need. Put the rest back into the container and back into the freezer! Pretty cool, eh?
So here’s the scoop, including some new things I learned at a cooking class I took at the International Culinary Institute (ICE) last fall. Chop your big bones, like legs and thighs, to get more flavor out of the marrow. Add in extra wings and wing tips if you have them as they have the most gelatin, as well as – are you ready for this? – chicken feet!!! This last one I haven’t been able to do yet. Somehow I’m having trouble with the thought and visual of seeing red chicken feet bobbing around in my broth, but hey, who knows?
MARY’S CHICKEN STOCK
One whole carcass of a roasted chicken, large bones chopped in half, including any juices, herbs or cheese rinds left – see my Roast Chicken recipe
Extra wing tips, if you have them
One whole carrot, skin scraped, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into thirds
One whole parsnip, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into thirds
One whole celery stalk with leaves, cut in half lengthwise, then cut into thirds
One whole medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters and each quarter studded with one clove
One bay leaf
Fennel stalks and fennel fronds from one fennel bulb (optional)
A handful of fresh Italian parsley
Coarse sea salt to taste
Throw everything into a stock pot, cover with cold water to 1 ½” from the top of the pot, and bring nearly to a boil. Skim off any foam that gathers at the top and remove. Turn heat down to low, to simmer, with the pot lid just slightly ajar. Check and stir periodically and simmer for 4 hours, at least. More time is even better to achieve a dark, rich broth.
Let cool and strain all through a cheesecloth lined, fine mesh strainer and divide into containers. Refrigerate, if using within a week or freeze to use whenever.
A stock like this insures you’ll make your best risotto ever!