Monday, November 14, 2011

The Epic Saga of Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup PART II: Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock, it separates the good soup from the soup people tell you is good, but they don't really mean it. Ever been to a great restaurant and had the best soup of your life and thought to yourself,  how the flip did they make this soup?  That restaurant makes their own stock, trust me.  So today is the day you tell Swanson's to kiss off, because today is the day you start making your own stock.   When people tell you that they like your soup, they are going to mean it!

Instead of throwing away all the skin and bones leftover from a Sunday Roasted Chicken, we are going to use them! Everything you can rangle up, everything left over when you strained your gravy.  Heck you can even take all the leftovers from all the kids plates who SWORE they cook eat all that.  Why not?  Throw everything into a big pot and cover it with water by about 2 or 3 inches.   If you didn't have much by way of vegetables and onions, add a few more to the pot  for good measure.  Give the water a good taste.  Can you taste the salt?  If you can, leave it, it just kind of tastes like greasy water, then add some salt till you can taste it.

Pot ready to get simmering!
Bring the pot to a boil and then turn it down to medium and cover.  Let boil for at least 1 hour.  Once it has boiled, strain the liquid from all the stuff.  Once you strained it, you want to run it through a fine sieve. The stock will have the chicken grease in it, and you don't want that in your stock, or your soup will have a oil slick on the top, and you don't want that.  So you need to seperate it. If you have one of these, you are money ---------------------->
If you don't, there are many other ways to separate the fat from the stock.  One way is to put it in a bowl, put it in the fridge and let the fat float to the top and solidify, then scoop it off.  Another way is to put into a used milk jug. After a few minutes the fat will float to the top.  Once it has separated, just put the jug over a bowl and poke a hole in the bottom of it.  Stop the flow into the bowl once it gets down to the fat.  

But heavens to betsy, do not throw away that fat! It is darn useful.  Not only can you use it to sauté onions for your soups, but you can use to make other things tasty! Roast carrots or squash in it.  Its like gold!
The chicken fat "gold"

 From two chicken leftover carcasses, I made 5 quarts of stock.  I put them in jars and put them straight in the freezer.  They will be there at my beckon call for vitually any use.   Of course the greatest of these uses is HOMEMADE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP! Stay tuned . . . . .

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