One staple in every home cooks kitchen is chicken stock. It is used in a wide variety of recipes and adds that flavour that most recipes need to bring the dish together. Personally I try to never use store-bought chicken stock unless I am in a jam because it usually lacks flavour and is very high in sodium.
Some Terms to Know:
Mirepoix: A fancy word cooks use for 2 parts onion, 1 part carrot and 1 part celery. This is a standard mirepoix, however, many recipes use a variety of vegetables such as leeks, shallots, etc. A mirepoix is used as a base in most soups, sauces and gravies.
“Mise en place”: In French means “putting in place”. It is the fancy phrase for setting up all of your ingredients and cooking tools in an organized way before you start cooking i.e.) putting all of your chopped vegetables in to separate bowls, etc. This helps you go through what you need before you start cooking so you’re not scrambling during the cooking process.
Here is my recipe for a basic chicken stock.
Julie’s Basic Chicken Stock Recipe:
Yields: About 8 cups
6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 whole chicken (Bones, wings, scraps)*
2 large onions
3 ribs of celery
1 bunch of parsley
2 tbsp of tomato paste
1 tbsp black peppercorns, toasted
4 quarts of water
*you can use more than one chicken if you prefer. The more chicken, the more flavour you get.
1. Set everything up that you need for the stock, in other words prepare your “mise en place”.
2. Roughly chop the carrots, celery and onion and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 3 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil, then some salt and pepper and toss the vegetables to coat. Put them in a preheated oven at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until the mirepoix is very wilted and looks golden in colour.
3. Quickly put the peppercorns in a frying pan and toast for literally 1 minute or until fragrant. Set aside.
4. While the mirepoix is roasting, in your heavy-bottomed stock pot, heat 3 tbsp of olive oil until smoking. Add the chicken pieces to the pot. Brown all sides of chicken pieces, turn frequently.
5. Add your mirepoix vegetables that you just roasted on top of the chicken into the heavy-bottomed stock pot. Add the water, tomato paste, peppercorns and parsley. Stir to dislodge the brown bits from the bottom of the stock pot that were left from the chicken.
6. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 2 hours (or until it is reduced by half). As the stock cooks, skim the fat that collects at the top.
7. Remove from the heat and ladle the stock into mason jars that are equipped with a wide-mouthed funnel and a sieve. When the jar is full, tighten the mason jar lid onto the jar and flip the jar upside down on to the lid. Leave the jars this way until they are fully cooled (seals the jars) and then refrigerate. Stock will keep for about 4 weeks.