Saturday, May 28, 2011

One Rotisserie Chicken Please: Part 4 Stocks and Soups and Such

There's a list (of course) in my head of the meals I make exceptionally well. My turkey chili, my short ribs... and my chicken pot pie. It's so, well for lack of a better word... country, but so luxurious. It's decedent but yet all the vegetables say "I'm kind of healthy." It's a little sweet, but mostly savory, the creamy sauce soaked up into the flaky pastry in the most delicious way. But you can't have chicken pot pie without chicken stock and what better way to use up every single bit of that rotisserie chicken then turning it into chicken stock?
Stock was one of the first things we learned to make in my I.C.E. cooking class and were impressed upon exactly how important stock was, the instructor even sharing tales of how people were hired at certain nameless New York restaurants just to make the stock and god forbid they messed up, it would spell the end of their career at unsaid restaurant(s). So below is straight from my class book. Of course you can adjust with different herbs and spices but you can just as easily do that with whatever you're using the stock for later without polluting the whole stock. I like to keep it simple, as I never know exactly what I'll be using it for later.

Basic Chicken Stock
Yield: 4 quarts

3 to 4 lbs. chicken parts- fresh or frozen
1/2 c. each diced carrot, celery and onion
Boquet garni- parsley and stems, bay leaf, peppercorns, thyme all wrapped in a cheesecloth and tied

1. Put chicken parts in a large stockpot, cover with water by several inches and set over medium heat.

2. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer. Skim off scum (fat and coagulated protein) until it is no longer produced. Do not let the water boil or scum will become incorporated into the stock.

3. Add all vegetable and Bouquet Garni. Simmer 4 hours. When done, cool and degrease.

Cooling and Degreasing
  • Cool the stock to room temperature over ice and chill until fat hardens. Discard solidified fat.
  • Put stock in degreasing cup. Allow fat to come to the top, about 3 minutes. Pour off the degreased stock from the bottom.
  • Use ladle to skim fat from the surface. Any remaining fat may be removed by dragging strips of paper towel over the surface. The fat will coat the paper making it translucent. Discard and repeat until all fat is removed.
As for storing, refrigerated stock can be kept in the refrigerator for about 3 days and in the freezer for nearly indefinitely. I like to freeze in ice cube trays and store to use individually as needed.

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