Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Chicken Stock

As winter approaches, we crave warm, comforting food. Soup is a comfort food that can be found all over the world. Each country has their own variation of soup that uses chicken stock, so there are lots of varieties to play with.

Every cook should familiar with chicken stock. It does not matter if you use homemade or store-bought stock, both are very versatile. Many cooks use stock and broth interchangeably, but actually stock is made from the bones of an animal, while broth is made from the meat. Parts of the chicken without a lot of meat like the wingtips, necks, and backbones are the best for making stock.

The difference between stock and broth truly lies in how it reacts during cooking. Stock, since it is made from bones, will contain more natural gelatins than broth will. The gelatin will make it taste richer, and when used for deglazing a pan, can help bind up the drippings more effectively. The amount of gelatin in a stock will depend on the length of time spent reducing the liquid.

So Easy

Making your own stock is actually very easy. Just add the chicken bones from last night’s roast chicken or add a whole raw chicken to a large pot of water. Let it slowly warm to a simmer and keep it going for about three hours. Strain the liquid and add some vegetables like carrots and celery to add some depth. Simmer for another hour or so, and then remove them. Your stock should be ready to cool. Let it sit overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, skim off the layer of fat that has solidified on the top. The

Top Stock Recommendations

The first thing most people think of when using stock is making soup. Make anything from a vegetable chicken soup to an easy chicken tortilla soup. Simply add the ingredients you want to create the flavors you love.

Rice also benefits from stock. It does not matter if you are making plain rice or a fancy risotto, stock will make it better. Try making couscous with stock for a big burst of flavor.

Freeze some of your stock in an ice cube tray. That way you can take out just a little to use when you are reheating casseroles or stir-fries. Use one to baste your roasts in the oven. The stock adds flavor and moisture to the meat.

You can even saut with stock. Instead of oil, add the same measurement of stock to your pan. Watch carefully so your food does not burn, since stock will evaporate during cooking. Use it to make a tasty sauce or gravy by deglazing a pan. The stock will pick up all the good bits. This versatile ingredient should be used whenever possible.

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