Chicken Stock, The key Ingredient
There are two ways to make chicken stock. One is to literally place all ingredients in a pot and simmer it for a few hours. The second is the professional chef's method getting the most flavor and color out of your ingredients. This is a little more time consuming but the results give a richer tastier darker stock. The extra step is in roasting the chicken and vegetables before placing in a stock pot. Roasting caramelizes the sugars in the vegetables giving them more flavor and adding color to the stock. Roasting the chicken adds flavor and darker color to the stock and minimizes the proteins (albumin) that usually coagulate and form at the top of the pot. Always use or add cold water to the stock. This also reduces the albumin. Never boil the stock, simmer it to keep the proteins and fats at the top where they can easily be skimmed off. Remember this stock is used as a base for many soups, sauces, gravy and deglazing pans to get the caramelized drippings.
The recommended amount of chicken is 12 pounds to make 8 quarts of concentrated chicken stock. This is a combination of chicken carcasses from a butcher and a stewing hen. You can use chicken parts and a stewing hen instead of carcasses. Low cost chicken parts and a stewing hen should keep the food cost down. Here is a recipe for making 8 quarts of chicken stock. Procedure will follow.
Please note you can easily cut this recipe in half. You would require a large stock pot to hold 12 pounds of chicken. Just cut back to 1 onion, the bouquet garni leave the bay leaf as is but reduce the others by half. The bouquet Garni is for a professional restaurant stock. If you don't have the ingredients or may not like them then pass on it. The Parsley can be chopped and added to the chicken soup.
Standard chicken stock Recipe
- 12 Pounds chicken carcasses or parts and a stewing hen
- 1 pound onions 2 medium
- 8 ounces Carrots 2 Medium
- 3 ounces Celery 1 Stalk
- 9 Quarts Cold water
- 1 large Bouquet Garni (1 bay leaf, 1 large bunch fresh thyme, 1 handful tarragon stems, 1 bunch parsley)
ProcedurePreheat the oven to 400 degrees. Thoroughly rinse all chicken with cold water. Sniff to ensure it fresh and has no odor. Cut all whole chickens into parts and remove excess fat. Lay in a roasting pan, skin side up, It is not necessary to season the chicken at this time. Coarsely chop the carrots, celery and onion, set aside. Roast chicken for about 20 minutes. take the chicken out, stir around and add the vegetables. Continue to roast for an additional 25 minutes to an hour. Place pan on top of stove after roasting. Remove the chicken parts then remove excess fat. Add 1 quart of cold water to pan. Turn gas on to high to heat water and deglaze pan. Add this along with the chicken, vegetables and bouquet garni to a stock pot. Add 8 more quarts of cold water. The chicken should be covered by three quarters. it will slowly sink into the pot and be fully covered Simmer for about 3 hours and strain off any coagulated proteins (albumin) that may come to the top of the pot.
Now you can strain the stock into another pot allowing it to begin cooling. Normally an ice bath is used to help speed up the cooling process shortly after it has started cooling. Let the chicken cool enough to remove the meat from the bones. This will be used for the chicken soup. You can place the chicken in the refrigerator or freezer to speed up the cooling process but don't wrap it until fully chilled. Chicken stock can be kept for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. You can bring it to a simmer for 10 minutes, skim it, cool it and keep it for another 3 to 4 days. Now lets make some chicken soup.
We have two great recipes for you. The stock is ready to be used. You need to get the ingredients ready and make the soup. Remember that cooking is a personal preference on what you like and how much you want to add to the soup. So if you want extra vegetables, garlic or maybe some potatoes then go ahead and add them. You can add salt and pepper to taste for seasoning but I usually use a paste chicken base that is made from real chicken. The powders are mostly salts and artificial flavorings. Please don't use them. PlEASE NOTE: Add chicken base after stock is complete to tatse. It will give it the salt level you desire and flavor.
This is a basic chicken soup recipe using 8 cups of stock. You have 8 quarts of stock to use so go ahead and double the recipe. I'm adding in the optional garlic but not necessary. Garlic does support the immune system so if you like it use it. The chicken is already cooked so you can add this to your soup directly or to the pot of soup the last few minutes of cooking.
Chicken Soup ingredients
- 8 cups chicken stock home made
- 1 large diced onion
- 4 stalks diced celery
- 4 sliced carrots
- 2 tbsp minced garlic (optional)
- 12 ounces cut up chicken ( adjust desired amount)
- 4 tsp finely chopped parsley leaves
- 6 ouces precooked noodles or precooked rice to add to soup (optinal)
Bring stock to boil for 2 minutes in a large, non-reactive stockpot with lid on, over high heat. Add onion, celery, and garlic. Lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and add herbs and salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with lemon halves and add squeeze of lemon juice if desired. Use the chicken base paste as a seasoning for salt and flavor. Add two tablespoons to taste then adjust for more as needed. Cool ramainder of soup after eating. Place pot in a sink full of ice water stirring until at or below 40 degrees. Second method is to divide soup into shallow pans and place in refrigerator or freezer until cooled. The soup can now be put into a pot, covered and placed back in the refrigerator. This step was necessary to minimize bacterial growth. Excess chicken stock can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. Prior to use, bring soup to boil for 2 minutes.
You can cook the rice or noodles in the soup. Rice would need to be done at the onset and the noodles towards the end. I suggest cooking separately to keep either one from overcooking and absorbing too much liquid causing them to become mushy from laying in the soup.
Next recipe is a Spicy Thai lime Ginger Soup. This is the complete recipe but if you have the stock then eliminate the chicken and vegetables. Use the ginger, lemon grass, Kaffir Lime Leaves, Serrano and cilantro stems. Simmer these for at least one hour in two quarts of stock. This soup has excellent flavors and great medicinal properties. Add desired amount of chicken from stock previously made. The garnishings will add more flavors.
thai Lime Ginger Soup ingredients
- 1 whole chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, neck and gizzards removed
- 1 piece (6 inches) fresh ginger , unpeeled, cut into 1-inch segments
- 1 onion , unpeeled, cut into quarters
- 3 carrots , unpeeled, cut into thirds
- 3 stalks celery , cut in half
- 1 stalk lemongrass , leaves trimmed and base smashed
- 4 kaffir lime leaves (fresh or frozen)
- 1 serrano or bird chili
- 1 bunch cilantro stems (leaves reserved, for garnish)
- 2 tablespoons salt or paste chicken base plus more to taste
- Reserved cilantro leaves (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
- 2 small chilies, thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 limes, cut into small wedges
- 1 cup bean sprouts
Place chicken in a large pot; cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce to a simmer. Add ginger and cook about 1 hour. Add remaining ingredients except salt; cook 3 more hours.
Remove broth from heat; let cool slightly. Set a fine-meshed strainer over a large bowl; pour broth through strainer and discard all solids except the chicken. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin. Using a fork, shred meat (watch out for stray bones). Season to taste with salt and arrange on a platter along with garnishes.
Reheat broth; season to taste with salt (this may take more than 2 tablespoons). To serve, instruct guests to place chicken and a little bit of each garnish in the bottom of their bowls; ladle hot broth on top.