food

Yes, I know what you’re thinking… Homemade stock? Who has time for that?!
Here’s the deal: Homemade stock is the foundation for flavorful, homemade
cooking. There’s no question. And I’ve come up with a strategy to make this
method pay off, or else I wouldn’t do it myself.
By using a whole chicken, this stock only needs about 1½ hours to cook. Any
longer and the breast meat will begin to dry out. Your reward? A gorgeous pot of
liquid gold for soups and risottos, and a whole chicken that will yield several
meals. And if you’re really clever, you can easily reuse the bones to make another
batch of stock (see tip). Homemade chicken stock is a triple-duty reward, making
planning and cooking meals one less thing you have to worry about. It’s good for
the soul too.

MAKES ABOUT 2½ QUARTS (2½ L)
1 whole chicken, about 4-5 lbs (1.8-2.3 kg)
2 cups (320 g) diced onion
1 cup (130 g) diced carrots
1 cup (100 g) diced celery
1 heaped tbsp (6.5 g) fennel seeds
2 tsp (10 g) black peppercorns

1 bunch of parsley stems
2 bay leaves
10 thyme sprigs
12 cups (3 L) water
Place all of the ingredients into a large, 6-quart (6-L) pot. Cover with water.
Bring the stock to a gentle boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer (lid tilted) for
about 1½ hours, or until the chicken is cooked through. Skim away any foam
that floats to the top.
Place the chicken in a large bowl, breast side down. Cover with 2 cups (475 ml)
of stock. Quick Tip: Whenever you slow-cook or braise, it’s important to let the
meat rest in some of its cooking liquid so that it doesn’t dry out. Placing the
chicken breast side down will keep the meat juicy.
Grab a large strainer and drape a clean kitchen towel inside. Strain the stock over
a large bowl, using a ladle to push down on the vegetables to extract the liquid.
Discard the vegetables when you’re done. Cool the stock (and meat) to room
temperature before storing. Don’t forget to add back the 2 cups (475 ml) of stock
from the chicken.
Pour the strained stock into airtight containers or zip-top bags. Divide it into
small portions for convenience. Label and date accordingly. Refrigerate for about
1 week, or freeze up to 6 months.
For the chicken, shred the meat using two forks (or your hands). Feel free to mix
the white and dark meat together or store separately, depending on your
preference. Portion into containers or zip-top bags for quick dinners. The chicken
will keep in the fridge 3-4 days and in the freezer, up to 3 months.

» Don’t be afraid of gelatin. If your stock looks wobbly after you take it out
of the fridge—this is normal; it’s the natural gelatin setting up. The stock
will return to its liquid state once heated.
» Keep your chicken stock versatile. Don’t go crazy adding salt and
seasonings, build as you go.
» For vegetable stock, double the amount of vegetables and omit the
chicken. Then follow the recipe as usual.

 

EASY CONCENTRATED STOCK CUBES

My freezer is a war zone. You need a helmet and an ice pick to excavate that
thing; it’s filled to the brim! Concentrated stock cubes are not only convenient,
they barely take up any space. Simply reduce one batch of Triple-Duty Chicken
Stock to about 1½ cups (355 ml). Watch it carefully, though, it will

MAKES ENOUGH CUBES FOR 2½ QUARTS (2½ L) STOCK
1 batch of Triple-Duty Chicken Stock, about 2½ quarts [2½ L]
Pour your chicken stock into a large soup pot. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce
the heat to low. Simmer (uncovered) for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. You should
have about 1½ cups (355 ml). As it cooks, skim away any foam that floats to the
top. This will make your stock cubes clear, not cloudy.
Cool down to room temperature, about 10 minutes, before storing.
Pour your cooled stock into ice cube trays for easy storage. Freeze until solid.
Once frozen, transfer to a large zip-top bag or container, and label and date
accordingly. Stock cubes should last up to 6 months.

 

SPEEDY CHICKEN SOUP

One of the many benefits of Triple-Duty Chicken Stock is chicken soup on
demand. Simmer Pre-Chopped Vegetables with pasta and leftover chicken. Right
before serving, toss in heaping handfuls of tender baby greens to wilt. Dinner is
on the table in under 30 minutes.

1 cup (130 g) diced carrots
1 cup (100 g) diced celery
2 quarts (2 L) Triple-Duty Chicken Stock, plus more as needed
½ cup (50 g) small tube pasta
4 cups (500 g) cooked shredded chicken
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large handfuls of baby greens, such as spinach or kale
Ground Parmesan cheese, to taste
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the carrots and celery, and
sauté until soft but not colored, about 3 minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock and bring the soup to a boil. Add the pasta and cook
(uncovered) until al dente, about 7 minutes for small tube pasta. If using a
different pasta variety, refer to the package for specific cooking time.
Reduce the heat to low, and add your shredded chicken. Simmer for about 5-6
minutes for the flavors to infuse and the chicken to soften. Season with salt and
pepper. Right before serving, add your baby greens and stir gently to wilt.
Portion into bowls and sprinkle with lots of Parmesan cheese to taste.