Chicken stock

The freezer is full. The freezer is so full we can barely close it. I really wanted to make chili this weekend, but getting volume out of the freezer was more important than getting more food into it. And you can’t make chili in small batches.

Chicken stock it is. I did it “properly” this time. Often I’ll just throw stuff in the stock pot and let it go. Yesterday was a bit more organized.

I often buy whole chickens and cut off the bits we want (legs, breasts, wings, whatever) and then freeze the rest. I had two carcasses in the freezer so I grabbed them and dumped them in the stock pot with just enough water to cover. I added one large carrot, broken into pieces, 2 stalks of celery, a handful of garlic cloves, and some onion. I seasoned with pepper corns, bay leaves, parsley and fresh thyme. I don’t salt my stock until I actually use it.

I brought it to a boil, then skimmed off the foam. Then I turned it down, put an steamer basket upside down on top to keep the chicken submerged and simmered it for 5 – 6 hours with the top off. 2 hours before I was going to turn it off, I covered the pot and continued simmering. I turned it off and let it cool to room temperature overnight.

This is where the food safety people should jump in and point out that you should never do this. You should cool your stock as soon as possible to fridge temperature. It is in the danger zone and could be full of harmful bacteria. They’re right. Don’t do this my way, follow good food safety standards. I am taking a risk here with the stock by leaving it to cool at room temperature.

Today, I’ll defat and strain all the solids out of the stock. I’ll use some of it to make chicken and dumplings. It was my favorite dish from grandma. Bad me, I never got her recipe. So I’m going to try and create something that won’t nearly be as good.

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