Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My House Smells Like Soup

I find comfort in the smell of soup cooking on the stove. There is something very "homey" about the many flavors coming together. And when I make my own chicken stock, my house smells like soup.

I like to make my own chicken stock because I freeze it and use it for things from soups to risotto. At the suggestion of a friend, I buy a rotisserie chicken, remove all of the desirable meat from it and use the remainder in the stock. Perhaps my favorite thing about making the stock is that I don't have to do much to the vegetables beforehand. I wash my veggies, but otherwise just stick the whole thing in the stock pot - skins, leaves and all.

Homemade Chicken Stock

2-3 carrots, washed and cut in half if necessary

2 parsnips, washed

4 celery stocks, washed and with leaves attached

1-2 large onions, cut in half

1 bulb garlic

1 tsp whole peppercorns

1/4 cup salt

1 bunch fresh thyme

1 bunch fresh parsley

1/2 bunch fresh dill

3/4 cup cooking sherry (white wine or vinegar would work too)

1 rotisserie chicken, desired meat removed

Place all of the ingredients into a large stock pot and cover generously with water. Simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally. Sometimes I will add a few teaspoons of chicken bouillon to deepen the flavor.
After the stock has simmered for several hours, let it cool. Strain through a colander over a bowl to catch all of the vegetables and chicken. Strain through a finer sieve a few times until stock is free of bits.

Divide stock evenly into freezer containers (leaving room for expansion) and place in refrigerator to cool completely. Before transferring to the freezer, skim the fat off the top.

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