WHAT IS CHICKEN STOCK?
Chicken stock is made by cooking leftover chopped up carcass (animal bones) in water along with a mirepoix of vegetables and occasionally other flavors. Many chefs have their own “secret” variations on this recipe, which can involve charring various bones or animal parts as a part of the ingredient mix. Roasting the bones in general gives your stock a smoky touch but isn’t a requirement. Chicken stock is not the same as chicken broth. The latter is made by simmering a cheap cut of meat in some water. It is a thin, seasoned liquid that doesn’t solidify if chilled and is more popular in “lighter” dishes like soup.
SUGGESTIONS WHEN MAKING CHICKEN STOCK
- Save Your Bones
Chicken stock is a basic building block of cooking that is handy to have around. It’s also a great way to use chicken bones, wing tips, necks and carcasses and reduce waste. You can use raw bones or for better flavor and color, roast the bones first in a roasting pan for 25 to 30 minutes. You can also use the leftover carcass from your roast chicken.
- Mirepoix: Keep it large
Mirepoix–carrots, onions, and celery–are the holy trinity of stock making but contrary to what most supermarkets would have you believe with their pre-chopped mirepoix, mirepoix for stock should not be chopped small. Instead, go for large chunks. Remember these aromatics are going to simmer a long time–you want them to give up their flavor without totally breaking down and making the stock cloudy.
- Fine Tune To Your Taste
Because chicken stock is a good flavor enhancer for stews as well as a base for sauces and soups, you can tweak the flavor any way that you like. For example, for a more Asian-inspired stock substitute cilantro for parsley and add ginger. For a more Caribbean flavor stock, add a small chili pepper and allspice berries–you get the picture.
WHAT PAIRS WELL WITH CHICKEN STOCK?
Birds of a feather all taste delicious together with chicken stock. It also works well in soups that involve poultry. But avoid using this stock when other proteins such as beef or seafood are involved. Like goes with like is a safe way to use chicken stock. Though I’ll throw some stock and butter into my rice cooker along sometimes to give it a more luscious flavor.