I'm amazed by two things when it comes to stock.
1: How long it took me to realize I was throwing away money buying it every week.
2: How much stock I actually go through.
It seems like lately I've been using stock for everything. I think it has something to do with the cold weather. Lots of soups and stews and heavier sauces equals lots of stock...and wine, lots of cooking with wine.
Also (much to my amazement) my father loves my gravy! He even demands I make it for his terrible Newfie dinners. This is an incredible evolution for a man who previously only enjoyed gravy made from some mysterious brown powdered base that he gets in unlabeled containers from a friend. Supposedly the friend supplies restaurants with this mysterious stuff.
I'll stick with home cooking and gravies made from ingredients I can identify thank you very much.
I find myself making stock once every week or two right now. It's so easy to do, makes a huge flavour difference over store bought stuff and, in the case of chicken stock, it means I get to eat yummy roast chicken often.
Have I mentioned that chicken is also a new thing with me? Never liked it before.
Chicken cravings are the new pork cravings. Except not really 'cause the pork cravings won't stop but they have agreed to share the spotlight. For now.
So, as promised, here's how I make my chicken stock from beginning to end.
Brown Chicken Stock
"Brown" stock is different from any other chicken stock only because the bones of the carcass are roasted before the stock is simmered.
1 whole chicken (4-5 lbs)
3 carrots roughly chopped
1 large onion quartered
4 celery stalks roughly chopped
2-3 cloves garlic whole (no need to peel)
1/4 cup olive oil
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
small bunch fresh parsley stems
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. fresh black peppercorns
In order to not be wasteful (and because I like roast chicken dammit) I buy a whole chicken and prepare it roasted.
For the roast:
Heat oven to 450 degrees.
layer bottom or roasting pan with 2 of the carrots, onion, 2 celery stalks and the garlic.
Toss the vegetables with the olive oil.
Lay your chicken (prepared as you prefer) on top of the veggies.
Place in oven.
Cook at 450 for 15 mins.
Reduce heat (without removing chicken) to 350 degrees and continue to roast for 45 mins or until juices run clear.
Save the carrot, onion, celery, garlic for the stock.
Save any leftover bits of fat, meat from the carcass.
Cut the bones of the carcass into manageable 1-2 inch sized pieces.
In a large stockpot heat 1 tbsp. olive oil
When oil is hot add bones and roast on all sides until well browned.
Add one cup water and deglaze pot, removing any bits stuck to the bottom.
Add vegetables from roast.
Optional: Add another fresh carrot, celery, onion.
Fill pot with water to cover ingredients.
Bring to a boil.
Remove any scum that forms on surface.
Add herbs and peppercorns.
Reduce heat to simmer.
Partially cover and simmer for up to three hours.
Let cool and strain.
Pour stock into jars.
Keep in refrigerator up to a week or freezer up to three months.
That's it, that's all. You can a yummy meal, the basics for some more yummy meals and the pleasure of knowing that you really got the best out of the aromatic vegetables sacrificed for their aroma-ness.
You can't really ask more from a carrot than being roasted and then further cooked to a pulp!