listening: J.S.Bach : the Unaccompanied Cello Suites, performed by YoYo Ma
Part One: Making Chicken Stock
The next step with your roast chicken is to turn it into stock. You can do this with a left- over store-bought roast chicken, too. Don’t waste.
First, strip off any remaining chicken. Don’t forget the bottom of the chicken; there are morsels under there. Store the chicken in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator or freeze it if you don’t think you’ll use the leftovers right away.
There are two types of stock you can make, regular or dark chicken stock.
For regular chicken stock, place the carcass and bones into a stockpot or any other pot large enough to hold the chicken, vegetables, and water. Toss in 3 or 4 carrots cut into pieces, a medium onion, unpeeled, (the skins add color to the stock) and quartered and 2 or 3 ribs of celery, cut into large pieces. Fill the pot with about 12 cups cold water. Toss in 8 to 8 black peppercorns and ½ teaspoon salt. Salt used to be excluded in making stock, the thinking being that as the stock cooks and reduces, the stock might get too salty. A little salt helps to bring out the flavors and such a small amount doesn’t make for a salty end product. You can also toss in a couple of bay leaves, whole parsley sprigs or some fresh thyme. These are extras. Bring the stock up to a boil then reduce the heat so the stock gently simmers. Boiling the stock will result in a cloudy stock. Skim off any foam that may rise to the surface of the pot. Cook until the stock has reduced by half. Let cool and strain. Discard the solids, reserving the stock for future use. Store the stock in containers in the refrigerator if you plan to use with in the next few days, or freeze it until needed.
Making dark chicken stock requires the extra step of roasting the carcass and vegetables. To make dark chicken stock, strip the carcass as directed above. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Place the chicken carcass and bones into a pan along with the vegetables. Drizzle the vegetables with 2 or 3 Tablespoons olive oil. Place pan in the oven and roast until everything is nicely browned, about 1 hour. Remove pan from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes. Empty the contents of the pan into the stockpot. Place the roasting pan onto the stove, add about 1 cup of water. Heat the pan and scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Pour this into the stockpot. Add an additional 10 to 11 cups of cold water. Toss in the peppercorns, salt, and herbs, if using. Bring the stock to a boil then reduce the heat so the stock gently simmers. Skim off any foam that may rise to the surface of the pot. Cook until the stock has reduced by half. Let cool and strain out the solids, reserving the stock for future use, either in the refrigerator or freezer.