Why don’t we make our own chicken stock?

Last week, I  was making a chilled pea soup and one of my friends asked me about the best organic chicken stock I use. I told her that stock is really so cheap and easy to make, I would suggest she start to make her own.

Everyone is always complaining about having no time to do anything these days. But I think that’s just a load of baloney. We make time for what we want to incorporate into our lives. ( Okay, I understand when work overloads us, but WE control our home life.)

So let me show you a step by step process that you’ll have down in no time flat, that will blow you away with its superior taste to the store bought stuff.

What you need:

3 to 4 large carrots

3 large celery stalks

Large yellow onion

2 heads of garlic

1/3 cup sliced shitaki mushrooms

7 large basil leaves

3 small bay leaves

Small bunch of flat leaf parsley

2 sprigs of fresh time

Whole pepper corns

3 tablespoons of butter

1/2 cup white wine

1 large heavy pot

*the carcass of a whole chicken that was left over ( usually freeze mine in ziplock bags)

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Throughly wash and rough chop your celery, carrots and onion.

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Slice your mushrooms and cut the top layer of your garlic bulbs, leaving the skin intact.

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Heat a large pot adding the butter to just melt.

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Add all your chopped veggies, garlic heads and mushrooms

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Heat over medium high heat, stirring seldom to allow for the vegetables to caramelize.

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It should look like this…

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Meanwhile, gather your herbs and tie them into an “herb garni” or small bundle. Add them to the pot, along with the bay leaves and 2 teaspoons of whole pepper corns.

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Gently fold in the herbs.

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Now, bringing the heat up just to high, pour in the wine and stir, scrapping up all the brown bits (fond) at the bottom of the pan.

Add the whole chicken carcasses.

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Now add the water. My 5qt pot holds almost 16 cups. Fill it so that it’s an inch below the rim.

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Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium-high and simmer. Reduce the heat, and continue to simmer for at least 3 hours.
Stirring occasionally, and adjusting the heat so as not to boil over.
After 3 hours, the stock will be reduced. Remove from heat, covered and let the stock rest for 30 minutes.

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Now,once the stock is considerably cooler, using a strainer, and a large container, carefully strain, separating the herbs and veggies from the stock.

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Cover the container with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.

The next day, remove the fat that’s hardened on the top with a small spoon and discard.

You’ve just made the best homemade stock.

You’re ready to make soups or sauces. Or pour into freezer ready containers, freezer bags or such, label with the date and freeze. *good for 3 months

Barbeque Chicken that’s so easy, from grill to oven

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I am awful on the outdoor grill. I don’t know when its hot enough,  or quite when to turn items and everything while not burned, just doesn’t turn out well. 

But, when it comes to barbeque chicken, you just have to use the grill. 

So for us, this was a “tag-team” effort.

Doug’s great at grilling…and I’m…. well I’m the chef.

I came up with this method of grilling first and then utilizing the oven to preserve the moisture in the meat. The result, simply amazing.

Most people use chicken thighs, but Doug loves the breast meat so I just get large skin-on chicken breasts and cut them in half.

Here’s the how:

Clean your chicken!! I cannot express this enough, every chicken should be throughly rinsed under cold water before cooking and watch to make sure you keep your surfaces clean as you go.

  • brine your chicken first ( equal parts sugar and salt is added to cold water) in a bowl and refrigerate for 1hour.  I use organic demerara sugar and kosher salt 1/2 cup of each.
  • rinse and pat dry the chicken with paper towels

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and heat your outdoor grill to medium heat

Tag team time! 

  • Give the “griller” in your family the plate of chicken, and have them place the chicken on the grill, skin side down.  Cooking for exactly 5 minutes per side (we set the timer)
  • transfer chicken to a baking sheet or glass oven dish large enough so the chicken doesn’t overlap
  • place in your preheated oven and cook for 15 minutes
  • Remove and brush liberally with your favorite sauce
  • return to the oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes more, basting a 2nd time halfway through remaining cooking time.