Thursday, August 4, 2011

Brown Chicken Stock

Once or twice a month, I roast a chicken. It's a pretty economical meal, since I can eat the leftovers for 2 or 3 days without getting bored. Then I take the last of the meat off the  carcass and turn it into some other dish (enchiladas, soup, chicken pot pie, etc.) Then finally, I turn the bones into stock.

Homemade stocks taste amazing, are cheaper than store-bought varieties, and are really easy to make. My favorite is brown chicken stock, made by roasting the bones beforehand (as opposed to white chicken stock, where the bones are boiled without browning the bones. Brown stock has a richer, heartier flavor. White stock has a more delicate taste).

To make brown chicken stock:

Start by roasting chicken bones in a 450° oven for 15-20 minutes (until they're brown and smelling really good).

Meanwhile, coarsely chop some aromatic vegetables (onion, carrot, celery) and throw them into a slow-cooker. Add the browned chicken bones, a bay leaf, and maybe some thyme and rosemary (I usually try to aim for a 1:1 ratio of bones to vegetables). Pour in enough cold water to cover, put the lid on, turn the slow-cooker on low and let simmer overnight.

I usually freeze my stock in ice-cube trays, and then move the cubes into a Tupperware container or freezer bag. That way I use small portions without having to worry about my stock spoiling or having to take the time to defrost a large container of stock.

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