Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chicken Stock

Today I found some bone-in chicken breasts on sale at Quality Foods, we have run out of chicken stock in the freezer so I decided to buy a couple of packs and make up enough to last us through the spring and fall. I feel that a freezer should never be without homemade chicken stock, it's benefits are beyond compare. When Granny said to eat chicken noodle soup when you were sick, well she knew what she was talking about.

Many people don't know how to make their own chicken stock, so I thought I would give you a step-by-step recipe.

Cooked Chicken Breasts
 What You'll Need:
- 3-5lbs bone-in Chicken Breasts (skinned)
- 1 pkg. Chicken Feet (Optional)
- 2 Carrots
- 2 Medium Onions
- 2 Celery Sticks
- 6 cups (or more) of Water
- 2 Tbs. Vinegar
- Paprika
- 1 t. Cayenne Tincture
- Minced Garlic Clove
- Stock Pot

Put water into stock pot and add chicken, bring to a boil. Let meat simmer for 45min to 2 hrs on low. Remove meat from stock pot. While you are letting it cool, double strain the broth to remove scum and extra meat. Rinse or wash the stock pot to remove scum.

scum removed through straining

Scum on the stock pot
  Your chicken should be cool now (you don't want it to cool to long or it will get tough),  debone it and put away.

Add bones to the chicken broth in the stock pot (if there is a little meat still on the bone that's ok)

Chop vegetables and add to chicken broth.

Veggies & kitchen tools

Chopped Veggies
  Let this stand for 1 hour with no heat.

Add chicken feet, vinegar, paprika, garlic cloves & cayenne tincture to broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 6 or more hours (or overnight).

Double strain broth again and let cool, stock should gel after it cools...mine never does because I can only get store bought chickens and not farm raised, free range chickens.

This is my end results:

A nice dark stock

How to Preserve the stock:
 I like to put my stock in freezer bags, but you can actually can stock and just put it on your pantry shelf. My sister's and I usually bag the stock together, so that we don't waste any of the stock (cause it's very easy to spill), but when they aren't able to help me I do it this way:

Take a wide mouthed jar and put the freezer bag over the mouth

Fill until it is about halway to two thirds full

Close the bag halfway

and lift with the side that isn't closed

Press all the air out and zip closed

When you're done place bags in freezer (I prefer putting them in the freezer basket, so they are easy to reach and they don't get punctured as easily).

Now you can dump the bones & cooked veggies in the compost, or pick the bones out and put them in the compost (or continue boiling them to make bone meal out of) and use the veggies for a side dish for dinner tonight.

Suggestions for cooked chicken:
We always use the cooked chicken to make bbq, enchiladas and/or chicken salad...here is how to pull the chicken

Set aside 2-4 Cups of broth

Pull chicken with fork, like so:

Pull against the grain, if chicken is tender it should pull easily

this is what it should look like

Add this to the broth to moisten and keep it fresh.

Pulled chicken in broth

What Does Chicken Stock do For My Health?

 Rich homemade broths help cure colds. Stock contains vitamins and minerals in a form the body can absorb easily - not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulpher and trace minerals. It contains the broken down material from cartlidge and tendons, stuff like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine, now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

Farm raised, free range chickens are best, many battery raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.

Cayenne - Cayenne is very good for your immune system and for curing the flu and common cold. Good for digestion, heart and it adds flavor to the stock as well as more medicinal properties

Garlic - Garlic prevents the flu and common cold and is full of antioxidents.

Chicken Feet - This sounds very gross...but, the feet is the boniest part of the chicken and so this is what has a lot of your vitamins and minerals!!!

Why Homemade?
Homemade is always best, but you may want to know why I believe it's best...
- you know what's in it
- it's pure and contains no preservatives (MSG, etc)
- you can add whatever you want to your stock and make it very flavorful, where as store bought stock most likely contains added "flavor"
- you put wholesome vegetables, store bought usually contains vegetable flavoring
- Homemade stock is fresh and it will contain more vitamins and minerals
- Heals faster

There are many more reasons I am sure why it's better to make homemade stock, but I'll spare you ;) If you would like to know more just leave me a comment and I would love to answer any questions.

I hope you have enjoyed this post as much as I have...making stock is one of my favorite things to do!!!

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