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Anything is good, in moderation. I cook because I love to and because I can share with those around me. I crochet for the same reason.

Do what you want to do, enjoy what you do and use it to touch those around you.

Jun 7, 2011

Homemade Stock

When cooking, anything homemade is usually better.  While I can, and have, cooked with canned chicken broth and/or stock, I now prefer to use homemade chicken stock.  It allows you to control sodium content as well as not pay for excess water.  It was recently suggested in one of my cooking classes that the use of canned chicken broth is perfectly fine, but buying twice what you need and reducing it by half makes it better.  This will, unfortunately increase sodium as well (even if you purchase low sodium broth).  The instructions below are for a clear chicken stock.  Beef stock could also be made, I just don't use enough of it to make my own and I rely on canned.   The reduction step at the end is not necessary, it just allows for easier storage because it takes up less space.


Mirepoix is a combination of onions, carrots and celery used as a base.  If you need 1 lb of mirepoix, you would need 1/2 lb onion and 1/4 lb each of carrots and celery. Cut the onion in half, then cut each half in quarters.  Rinse the carrots and celery and cut into 1 inch pieces - stems and all. 

In a large stock pot, heat a neutral oil or duck fat.  Add the mirepoix and sweat until the vegetables are soft.  You just want to sweat to soften them, you do not want to saute to brown them.

Once the vegetables are soft (about 10 minutes), add 6 quarts water and 8 lbs chicken parts.  I do mean parts.  Try and get chicken backs, gizzards, wings - things that you can break the bones and expose the marrow.

Bring this to a simmer and simmer for 4 to 4.5 hours - DO NOT BOIL.  Run through a strainer into another pot.  Put this pot over low heat and SIMMER until reduced to 8 cups.  Pour into a bowl that holds at least 16 cups.

At this point, I DO NOT throw away the chicken/vegetable mixture - I put it back in the pot and add another six quarts water and simmer for 4 to 4.5 hours - there is still a lot of flavor there.  When done, run through a strainer into the second cooking pot and reduce to 8 cups.  Mix this batch with the first batch.  Stir thoroughly. 
At this point, I put it in measure 1 cup volume into 1 cup freezer safe containers.  Once cooled enough to go into the refrigerator, I cool overnight.  I then freeze.  Each 1 cup container can be reconstituted to 4 cups stock. 

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