We’ve been hit with snow storms (on two separate occasions) in the last two weeks. You could even call them the blizzard(s) of 2009 since many companies closed down shop and we were all confined to the house. A bad thing? I don't think so. It's usually dreadful for most but I had an opportunity to sleep in, and cook wonderful meals all day.
Before I started the actual cooking, I made chicken stock for the first time. Yes, first time for a self proclaimed foodie and aspiring chef.
Homemade Chicken Stock
1 bay leaf
6 whole black peppercorns
1 whole onion, cut into large cubes
2 celery ribs, washed and cut into large cubes
2 carrots, peeled and cut into large cubes
2 garlic cloves, cut in half
Chicken Carcass from a whole chicken or various drumstick and thigh bones (save poultry bones and/or carcasses after meals to make stock; they can be frozen for up to 6 months)
Add olive oil (enough so the vegetables don't stick) to a large pot on medium heat, add the chopped onions, garlic, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Saute for 2 minutes then add celery and carrots. Saute for few more minutes, or until the vegetables are brown around the edges. Add chicken carcass and stir to combine. Cook for 2-4 minutes. Add enough water to cover. Turn up the heat to high to bring the liquid to boil. When bubbling on top, turn down the heat to low and simmer for 1 – 1 ½ hours. Skim the fat from the top.
I omitted salt so I can add precise amount of it in a recipe.
When it cools, pour the liquid in another large pot using a strainer. This step is to separate the vegetables and spices from the liquid. Using a wooden spoon, press the vegetables to release any unstrained liquid.
Pour the liquid one more time through a fine sieve to remove any solids.
Pour the stock in freezer friendly containers and freeze for up to 5 months. The stock can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.
I used some that night for Mexican paella, refrigerated 2 cups for Hoppin’ John and froze rest of the stock. It was so easy to make that I have decided to make my own stock rather than buy pre-made. Try it, it’s rewarding and comforting.