Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Tale of 4 Chickens, Part 2 - Liquid Gold

Welcome back to Part 2 about what you can do with 4 chickens.  If you missed Part 1, find it here.
We finished packaging our chicken meat, but were left with a pan full of juices, skin and bones.  At this point you could just throw all of this away, or you could add some water and a few vegetables to create several quarts of incredibly delicious chicken stock.  If you would like to try this but don't wish to mess with it right now, put the leftovers in the freezer and do it some other time.
However if you think like I do, you’re probably saying to yourself, “The pot is already dirty, so let’s just get this done.”  I love your spirit!
For each chicken carcass (in this case there are 4, so multiply these quantities by 4):
Add 6 Cups of water (with 4 chickens - I added 24 Cups) to your pan.  Scrub a large celery stalk (4), 2 (8) medium carrots, and 1 (2) large onion.  Quarter the onion, celery, and carrots, and toss in the pan.  You do not have to remove the skins or leaves on any of the vegetables, just remove any bad spots.  Bring your pot to a boil, then turn down your heat so your broth is just at a simmer.  Cover and forget about it for 4-6 hours*.  If you are using a crock-pot, you may want to increase the time.

I am cooking my broth right now, and I wish you could smell my house!  Yum!!!  On second thought, just get off that computer and come on over.  This really is too amazing to describe.  I promise, nothing you ever pour out of a can will even come close.
After your broth has simmered for several hours, the vegetables should look pretty drab and the bones should just be falling apart.  You will not save any of this.  Both the vegetables and the meat are pretty tasteless at this point.  Turn off the heat and let your broth sit for a few hours to cool to about room temperature.
When your broth is cool, strain it into some containers that will fit in your refrigerator.  This is my least favorite part, well this and how greasy these chickens are, because I have a small refrigerator.  I actually prefer to do this in the winter when I can just set my broth in the garage instead of the refrigerator.  This step is important, though, because as the broth chills, the fat rises to the top and can be skimmed off.  (I do freeze some of the fat in a separate bag to use in gravies.  While it is a fat, you don’t use much because you get a lot of flavor for the calories.)

Once you’ve chilled and skimmed your broth, give it a stir, then pour it into freezer bags or other containers.  I like to use pitchers to chill the broth in because it makes the pouring at this stage much easier.  Did you notice your broth is no longer a liquid but more of a gelatin?  This is a very good thing and means lots of rich flavor.  When you heat your broth in the future for a recipe, it will become liquid again.
Place your bags in the freezer and you are done.  My batch made the equivalent of 16 cans of broth - and it was made from trash and a few vegetables!  Isn’t that fun?
Be sure to label, especially the ice cream containers.  It's quite
disappointing when the kids open the ice cream only to find broth!
I know, I know, it involves a few hours and is a little messy, but it almost makes itself.  Seriously, when you look at your cost savings over canned chicken and broth, the healthy ingredients minus all the additives, the fact that you now have several meals partially prepared, not to mention the incredible flavors, isn’t it worth this little effort?
You can do this!  I’d love to hear your success stories, so let me know.
Thanks for stopping by,

*Well, don't completely forget it.  You might peak at it now and then to see if you still have plenty of liquid.  If your liquid is cooking off, it is ok to add more water.  You want to end up with 6-8 Cups of broth per chicken.  

1 comment:

I LOVE your ideas and comments. Thanks for taking the time :)