On Monday, I posted about using one chicken to make four meals for four. I cook the chicken in the pressure cooker, and use the cooking liquid and bones to make a rich, flavorful stock, perfect for chicken soup.
Here’s my method:
1. After removing meat from the bones, use a heavy knife to cut the bones into 2″ pieces. You’ll get all the flavor and nutrition out of the bones this way. Put them in your crock pot, along with a quartered onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, and about 10 peppercorns. If you want to add the liver and gizzards, it’s a good use for them, but it will make your stock cloudy.
You can add a bouquet garni if you like. A bouquet garni usually consists of parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, tied together. I like to use a little cheesecloth bag so I can easily pull them off to skim the scum from the surface of the stock without skimming up the herbs. If you want a clear, golden stock, only use the stems, not the leaves, of parsley.
2. Strain the cooking liquid from the solids in the pressure cooker. Put the strained liquid in the crock pot and add as much water as needed to cover the chicken by at least an inch. If you haven’t cooked your chicken in water before this step, just use plain water; it will still be delicious! Add 1 T vinegar, to pull the calcium out of the bones. You won’t taste the vinegar in the finished product.
3. Cook on low for 24 hours. You can occasionally skim the scum off the top with a shallow spoon or doubled over cheesecloth, but it’s okay to leave it since we’ll be refrigerating the whole pot and the scum will congeal with the fat.
4. Strain through a fine strainer or cheesecloth and allow to cool before refrigerating overnight. You’ll be able to easily pull the hardened fat layer and scum off the top, leaving a gelatinous, flavorful stock.
6. You can use it now, or freeze it. I like to freeze stock in muffin tins for 1/2 cup servings ready when you are. Just pop them out of the tins once frozen solid and store in a zip-top freezer bag.
Now you have awesome, home made, low-sodium chicken stock ready for soup when the sniffles hit your household or you just need a little warm comfort.
What’s the difference between stock and broth? Stock is made with bony pieces and vegetables, while broth is made with the meat. Stock will have the gelatinous quality that will lend itself to great pan sauces and soups with a rich flavor and mouth-feel – all from bones you might otherwise discard!
To see what works for other moms, check out We Are That Family.