Saturday, 13 February 2016

The Best Chicken Stock You Will Ever Make!!!

Every year I am gifted a few mature chickens and this is what I make with them. This type of bird offers a more robust tasting broth because the meat is more flavorful and it has a bit more fat then the younger bird. Because it is an older bird the meat is tougher so it needs to be slow cooked to tenderize it. This slow cooked bird will give you an amazing broth you can use for soups or gravies. I portion this in 500 ml containers and freeze it for later use.

1 -2 to 2 1/2 pound mature chicken (also called stewing hen)
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, quartered (I leave skin on, it give the broth a nice golden color)
12 peppercorns (do not use ground pepper)
1 teaspoon salt
1 sprig rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 sprig thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
Handful fresh sage (do not use powdered)

Rinse the chicken inside and out with cold water, remove neck, heart and giblets from cavity and toss in a large heave bottom pot; stuff two onion quarters into the cavity of the bird and place in the pot.
Add remaining ingredients and add 8 cups of water; bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium, cover and simmer for 2 hours.
Turn the bird over and simmer for another 2 hours adding water as necessary. (I like to keep at least 6 to 5 cups of water in this once it has reduced)
Remove the bird from the broth and place on a plate; set aside.
Place a sieve over a large bowl or measuring cup and pour the contents of the pot into the sieve. Push lightly on the vegetables to try and get as much of the juices as you can; discard the drained veggies and herbs.
Place the broth in a cool place for about 4 hours or until the fat has risen to the top and hardened; scrape the fat out.
I like to clarify my stock so I allow it to cool to room temperature and then clarify it. This step is not necessary and you can continue to next step if you wish. Clarifying your stock gives you a nice golden clear stock like you buy at the grocery store. (If you wish to clarify the stock, I have the steps listed here Clarifying Soup Stock )
Pour into containers, cover and freeze for later use. (If you clarify your stock, pour 1/4 cup aside and freeze separately so you can use it to clarify your next batch of stock)
Meanwhile, allow the bird to cool down enough that you can handle it; remove and discard the skin.
Remove all the meat from the bones and discard the bones.
Keep meat for future use. (I vacuum pack it and freeze to use for pot pies or soup at a later date) 

*Please keep in mind that not all dried herbs and spices are gluten free so check the labels to make sure the brand you are using is gluten free. The same applies for prepackaged store-bought items, check the labels to be sure. If in doubt, call the toll free number on packaging to be safe and to make your cooking/eating experience is truly gluten free.

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Have you tried this recipe?? Tell us how it turned out :)