It is quite an interesting episode, the interactions between a person who is raised in a kitchen and a person who is not. Everything from their character, their heart, their presence, their look, their stature, their “jargon”, it is all so very distinctive. They are a different breed, those who flood the culinary institutes and kitchens throughout the world. A Cook often speaks with confidence, short order in most cases, using language and aphorisms meant to cut confusion and accelerate actions; often only understood by creatures of the same nature. I am obligated to recognize that not everyone knows the exact importance of cooking with a stock.
It is in this reality that I humbly offer a recipe for chicken stock.
I am often asked questions about the benefits of cooking with stocks, or the difference in stocks and broths, as well as the importance of using stocks as opposed to bouillons.
Simple answer: Do not take short cuts… It shows in your food.
Cooking a Stock is a simple and effective way to utilize scraps lying around the kitchen. As opposed to throwing out your left over carcasses and vegetable trim, add some spice and herb and capitalize on creating an edge over your neighbors. A stock is used in many preparations from soups and sauces, to elaborate braises and/or a modest poach. There are many different varieties of stocks including everything from poultry to bovine or fish to vegetable; and each owns their respective place in the kitchen.
The Idea in making a stock is to extract and concentrate the essence of a collection of ingredients to ultimately enhance the quality and integrity of future preparations. Ergo, the better the stock… The better the “insert random recipe calling for a Stock, Here.” It is one of the first recipes a young cooks is called to recognize, simple enough for an intern yet just as important as the truffle, do not let the unpretentious assemblage of scraps into a stock pot fool you. A stock is capable of making your consommé or breaking your sauce. Tread lightly.
I have decided to offer a recipe for a Brown Chicken Stock. I often find this to be one of my favorites stocks to have on hand due large in part to it’s versatility. Strong enough for a reduction sauce, yet still light enough for a Pilaf. I typically save all of the Carcases from the chickens I break down until I have three or four in the freezer then begin a batch.
Recipe: in its most basic of form
3-4 Chicken Carcasses (neck, Back, and feet included)
16 oz Mire Poix (Deserving and explanation worth an entry of it’s own)
- 50% Onion
- 25% Celery
- 25% Carrots
As needed: Water
15 – 20 Peppercorns
A small bunch of each Parsley Stems & Thyme
3 Bay Leaf
1 head Garlic
Vegetable Trim i.e. Fennel, Leeks, etc.
- Roast Chicken bones in a preheated oven at 400°F until the bones are deep golden in color.
- Put the roasted bones in the bottom of a stock pot. (Be sure to scrape any of the roasted bits of skin and flesh from the bottom of the sheet tray into the stock pot… added flavor!)
- Add the rest of the ingredients to the bottom of the pot and cover the contents with Cold Water. (Starting with cold water will call all of the ingredients to evenly heat and allow the Albumin in the protein to heat and dissolve in unison, rising to the top of the pot, collecting many of the impurities in the stock leaving you with a clearer end product).
- Bring your stock to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer.
- This is where I cover my stock pot with a sheet pan and walk away. I allow my stock to simmer for 12 hours. This allows the flavors to develop and marry to create a desired depth. this is the time in which all of the gelatin, marrow, proteins and nutrients are seeping out of the bones enriching the stock.
- After 12 hours, I strain the stock through a Chinois (Fine Sieve) and chill it rapidly! in the refrigerator a stock will keep for 3-5 days. In a freezer, it is good for months.
Not that you have a Great Stock, you can go from here into world of Flavor!