Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter Bliss

Is there really such a thing as winter bliss?? Maybe to those that enjoy the cold and snow, but not for a girl like me that yearns for warm sunshine and green grass 24/7/365. Needless to say, these six month Minnesota winters are a little brutal for me. I'd honestly rather be here:

Thank goodness for this recipe - Ina Garten's Homemade Chicken Stock. This, my friends, is winter bliss. I can't begin to tell you how wonderful your home will smell. Not only that, but you will have enough stock to last you at least a couple months, so bring on the soups and cassoulets. My mouth is watering just thinking about the possibilities.

If you didn't already know, homemade stock is sooo much better than store bought. The flavor it adds to dishes is unparalled in comparison to the stuff in the box. Sure, store bought does the job, but you have no idea what you're missing until you try it homemade. Heaven on Earth.

As with everything else in cooking, this is only as good as what you put in it. I usually try to use all organic ingredients when making this, especially the chicken. In the summer and fall, I use the veggies from our CSA. Throw it all in the pot and let it simmer away for hours on the stove top.

I seriously hope you try this. It warms the heart and soul on a cold winter day when you can't be basking in the sun on the beach.

Chicken Stock
Original Recipe by Ina Garten
Adapted by A Toast to Taste
Photos by A Toast to Taste

**I have adjusted this recipe down to the amount of ingredients that would fit in my 11qt stock pot. Adjust as needed for your own stock pot. I also omitted the parsnips.

Ingredients Needed:
2 5lb organic roasting chickens
2 large yellow onions, unpeeled and quartered
4 stalks celery, with leaves, cut into thirds
6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
3 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in half (optional)
20 sprigs fresh parsley
15 sprigs fresh thyme
15 sprigs fresh dill
1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
2 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp whole black peppercorns

Place chicken, onions, celery, carrots, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, salt, and pepper in a stock pot.

Add enough water so there is about a half inch left at the top of the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 3 hours.

Remove the chickens from the pot and place in separate bowl. Then, strain the remaining contents through a colander into a very large bowl (one that can withstand high heat temp) and discard the solids. The chicken can be saved for future use - shred it for tacos, cube it for soups and salads, etc.

Then, with a small wire strainer, scoop any remaining follicles of herb or chicken that may still exist in the stock.

Using a ladle, pour stock into storage container/s of your choice. Chill stock overnight and remove surface fat the next day. Use immediately or freeze for up to 3 months.

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