In my opinion, one necessity for surviving fall/winter is a homemade chicken stock
recipe in your back pocket. It’s not something you use in every dish/soup that you make throughout the week but when you need another layer of deep flavors or you’re battling a terrible cold, grab that frozen homemade chicken stock in your freezer. Trust me, during a long messy winter filled with 4 different flu seasons, your future immune system will thank you for the extra marrow and veggies. I honestly haven’t been sick in like 6 years and Garnet is a pre-school teacher just carrying powerful kid germs from October to May. I owe it all to the stock just waiting in my freezer. It’s very easy too. Time consuming while it simmers all day but that’s ok because it’s worth it. It could also be cheaper than store bought and you know exactly what is going into your version. You don’t need to hire a lawyer to read the label of the store bought stock. So grab your 12-quart hot tub and load it up with chicken bones, chicken feet and veggies.
What’s that? Ya, you heard it right, feet. Little chicken feet!! They add a ton of gelatin to the stock and transform the final product into J-E-L-L-O form. It’s science. It’s kinda weird but that’s the goal and it adds extra “mouth-feel” to whatever dish it’s fortifying. And if you read my posts; I’m a big believer in dishes with good, “mouth-feel.” The reason we eat a whole bag of those flavorless circus peanuts is strictly because of mouth-feel. Your brain sends shock waves to your hands to reach for more and you don’t even know why. More science!?! Ehh probably not but that’s how I feel. Don’t worry you’re not eating chicken escarole flavored Jello; once the stock heats up it goes back to it’s liquid state but it’s much thicker and richer than feet-less stock.
After you strain your final product through a sieve lined with a cheesecloth and let it sit over night in the refrigerator, the fat will settle on top and you can just peel it off. I save the fat. It’s great for stir-fries, roux’s, matzo balls, and extra flavor in anything. After you defat your stock, portion it out into 2-cup Tupperware’s and freeze (You might have to heat it up to ungelatinize.) Now you’re all set for a couple months. You only have a couple days to use it if it stays in the refrigerator and a couple months in the freezer. I kept it in there for like 5 months and I’m still alive but the experts don’t recommend it, so I don’t either. (Check the Chicken stock safety tips. They’re a little more lieniant now, but to summarize safety: Cool final product as fast as possible. Ice Bath. Ice Bath in Freezer. Ice Bath in cooler. However you can drop the temperature to like 140 ASAP.) I really recommend you spend a day every couple months to keep your homemade stock, “stocked up.” Sure when it’s snowing and 20 below; you can have the chicken soup made with a salty cubed bouillon cube or watered down store bough stock but that helps you get over your cold as much as the ginger ale gets you over that tummy ache. I know I know, grandma used to open the can of chicken soup and you were magically better. I’ll save my rant about how much your ‘Ya-Ya” or “Noni” hates you for my chicken escarole soup post. But until then, good talk.
Meat & Parika
12 quart stock pot
3 pounds chicken bones. Back and Necks (liver removed)
1 pound party chicken wings
1 pound chicken feet
Distilled Water (I know – tap is fine)
8 bay leaf
Bunch of Parsley
2 Large carrots
2 Large onion
4 sticks celery
Half garlic bulb
Turn oven to 450
Put chicken on sheet pan (Roasting pan that is stove top safe is ideal to get all the flavor bits off the bottom of the pan)
Remove liver form backs
Cook for an hour. Until a deep golden brown.
Place chicken in stockpot. Adding any juice.
Heat the pan on stove top and deglaze with water or a little white wine and scrape all the flavor into the stockpot.
Add cold water to stock pot all the way to top. Turn stovetop on medium.
After 30 minutes skim all impurities or “scum” off the top with a skimmer or spoon.
repeat after 30 minutes than turn stove to medium low and let stock simmer without coming to a “rolling boil.”
Cook for 3 hours.
Dice all your vegetables and add to pot. Add parsley and peppercorns. Replace any water that boiled off and simmer for another 3-5 hours. Whatever you desire.
Pour stock through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Let cool and Place in refrigerator over night.
Peel fat off top of stock and portion into 2 cup Tupperware (Or any desired amounts)
Freeze and follow chicken stock safety.