When I was a graduate student, we would often work long hours. Very often, we had long incubations or reactions in our procedures, and if you found someone in the
dive bar pub across the street from the building where we lived, they would say “I’m actually working: I have an experiment incubating” or “I’m really running a gel.”
Graduate students are excellent multitaskers.
Today, I feel the same satisfaction. I’m making chicken stock.
I know this seems kind of foodie-ish, but it is true that homemade stock tastes way better than the store-bought kind, and it is so much less salty. I freeze stock when I have a lot of ingredients, and freeze the ingredients as I cook other things. Stock is made with bones and extra bits of meat, while broth is made from simmering meat. When I have parsley stems, celery tops and past-their prime carrots, along with the bones from a roasted chicken, it’s time to make stock in my cast iron stockpot. This is the perfect thing to do on a cold, rainy day while you are curled up with a good book, or a bad movie. And you can be relaxed and productive at the same time. This week, I brushed and washed the dog to distract him from the delicious smells.
- Bones, drippings and wings from one roasted chicken*
- dried herbs and parsley stems**
- 2 carrots, cut in large pieces
- 2 stalks celery, or several celery top sections with leaves
- 1/2 onion, optional
- 1 quart water
Place everything in the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Simmer several hours, or until your housework is done. Strain everything and save the stock. You can use this now for soup (add new meat and vegetables) or freeze for later. You might need to skim the fat, or put the strained stock in the refrigerator overnight and remove the hardened fat with a spoon. Stock can be used for soup, sauces or gravies, and is delicious when used as cooking liquid for rice or other grains, or for couscous.
* This is the perfect use for the remains of a store-bought roasted chicken that you used for another recipe.
** Whatever you have will make the soup better. A bay leaf or a sprig of thyme is fine. Rosemary is very strong, so use sparingly here.