Chicken Broth/Chicken Stock, same but different, but frankly for those of us at home who are cooking something calling for chicken broth, chicken stock is basically the same thing. Yes, it’s made a bit differently – has to do with bones and chicken or some such thing. I don’t know, I can’t remember things that really end up not being terribly important to my daily life. I mean, if I were a chef, or an expert on a cooking show, this distinction would matter. But I’m not, so it doesn’t. And, there’s a good chance, it won’t matter to you (go ahead, do the Google thing and when you find out the difference, you can decide if it matters to you – I’m betting it won’t).
So, to make it – it’s sooooo easy. First, you’ll want to cook a whole chicken. If that freaks you out, or you think all your chicken ends up dry, I’ll tell you why…You’re doing it wrong:) Okay, so that might be obvious, but what you’re doing wrong isn’t so obvious. You’re cooking it on too low of a heat for too long. There you go, that’s your answer. To properly cook a whole chicken so it’s moist and delicious, here’s what you need to do:
-Pre-heat your oven to between 450 and 500 degrees farenheit, yes, you read that right – not 350 degrees, no no no. At 450 degrees, you’re going to sear the chicken which will seal in all the moistness.
-Give the chicken a massage. Put together a mix of yummy seasonings like paprika, cumin, salt, pepper – basically whatever flavor profile you’re going for. It could be Italian seasoning, Greek seasonings, etc. Put ’em all in a bowl and then drizzle olive oil in the bowl to make a paste. Massage the chicken with the paste, get it everywhere, even the inside of the chicken. Remember to remove the neck and the bag of giblets – don’t throw these out, you will be using them for your broth/stock.
-Put chicken on a roasting rack with pan underneath to catch the juices, put in oven. Cook for approximately an hour, or until thermometer reaches 165 degrees in thickest part of thigh. Remove from oven, let sit for a bit. Double check that inside is no longer pink and juices run clear.
Good, you’re done making chicken – eat it. I tear mine up to an almost unrecognizable bird. There’s no pretty pinterest pictures of a properly cut chicken in my house. Nope, I tear that thing apart with my hands and a good sharp knife. I usually cut the breasts off nicely and use those for our meal that night. Then I tear the meat off the rest of the bird, separating the meat from the bones. The meat will be used for a possible variety of other meals during the week – chicken tortilla soup (with the broth I’m about to make), or chicken enchiladas, or some other chicken casserole. With the juices that are left in the pan, you can make a quick gravy if you like.
While the chicken was cooking, I’ve begun my prep for the chicken broth (aging veges – not moldy – are okay to use, use ’em up now):
Cut stems from parsley
Cut up carrots – use all of the carrot, even the ends
Cut off ends of celery
Find oldest onions in pantry (not moldy mind you, just the ones that you’re about to throw out) and cut into chunks, only removing the very top layer of the dry skin
Put all in a big pot and sprinkle very generously with salt and pepper
Put bones, neck and giblets in pot, fill with water. Put pot on stove, heat on lowest setting, cover pot with lid, let simmer overnight.
Next morning, strain broth into a new pot using a fine mesh strainer being careful to only get the broth and none of the ‘stuff’. Transfer broth to mason/ball jars leaving about an inch headspace at the top, seal with lids and refrigerate for approximately 3-4 days, or freeze.
With the ‘stuff’ that’s left in the pot, I usually go through it with my hands separating all the tiny bones from the meat and veges. I usually give the meat to my dog and my chickens get some of the meat and some of the vegetables. With the remaining vegetables and a cup of the broth, I put them in a crock pot and using an immersion blender make a base for beef stew. Then, comes the process of making beef stew – but that’s for another day:)
One chicken, many different meals. Saving money, eating healthy.