Saturday, September 12, 2015

Adventures in stock making

Morning sun and nearly transparent chicken stock
 I am showing you the end product first.

This is the most beautiful stock I have made yet.

I learned to make stock while working as a sous chef (read glorified line/prep cook really) at a small French restaurant just north of downtown in Seattle.

However that was nearly 25 years ago and up until this particular batch I had forgotten some of the details of a good stock.

This is what I did.

I save chicken bones and parts I don't feel like using (turkey wings for example) along with onion and garlic skins, carrot skin, bell pepper and apple cores, celery tops and parsley stems in various gallon sized freezer bags in the freezers.  Usually when I need room in said freezers I will pull out all the bags and dump them into our 5 gallon stockpot.

I fill the pot with water, toss in some peppercorns or white wine if I feel like it and cook it long and low on the back burner.  I never let it boil as that leads to cloudy stock as the fat from the meat and the water glom together.  (Thank you internet)

I leave it covered overnight on the lowest setting (if you have a gas and a pilot light that will do).

In the morning I strain the stock and refrigerate it in a food grade bucket (or two) until the next day (or 2)  This is when I am especially glad to have an extra fridge downstairs.

Stock after 1st skimming
Day 3 (for those of you that are counting)  I remove the fat that has solidified on the surface and pour it back into the cleaned stockpot to cook slowly again for a few hours.  Again, no boiling.

This was the 2nd thing I had forgot until a Google search.  Skim the foam that has accumulated on the surface of the stock.  Riley likes it on his food.  I repeated this 3 or 4 times.

Jars staying warm
Meanwhile I washed quart jars along with lids and rings in hot soapy water and rinsed well.  I kept the jars warm in the oven set at its lowest temperature.  The lids and rings were in a saucepan of hot water.

A pressure canner is needed to can the stock safely.  The pressure and time needed is in the helpful manual that came with it.

Now they sit in the pantry along side some not so pretty rabbit stock.

And I don't need to buy any stock at the store and all it cost was unwanted odds and ends.

Yeah, I'm grinning.

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