Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock

 I LOVE soup. I can have soup even if the weather is 100 degrees outside. I crave for long-simmering soups. I don't categorize soup as soup unless it has been simmering over a stove for about 3 to 4 hours, or cooked in a slow cooker for 8 to 10 hours. The kind of soup I crave for from time to time is just rich homemade chicken stock. Homemade chicken stock is clean tasting and tastes just like...rich chicken stock. I only use two ingredients to make my rich chicken stock: just chicken and filtered water. I do not add any vegetables, herbs or spices...not even salt.  Since I like to consume the chicken meat with my stock, I use only chicken thighs. You can use chicken breast, but I find my chicken stock more flavorful using chicken thighs; plus after simmering the soup for 4 hours, the chicken thighs are still edible while the chicken breast will be very dry. So here is how I cook my two-ingredient rich chicken stock:

First remove all visible fats (or as much as you can as possible) from each chicken thighs before weighing. I purchased 3:3.5 pounds of skinless and boneless chicken thighs. After removing all the visible fats, my chicken thighs weighed 2:12.2 pounds. So 7.3 ounces of fat was removed. That is why I weigh my chicken AFTER removing all visible fats. For every pound of chicken thighs, I use 1 quart (4 cups) of filtered water. In this example, I had 2:12.2 pounds of chicken thighs and used 11 cups of filtered water.

I placed my filtered water in a large 6- or 8-quart stock pot. Bring this "soup" water to a boil.

In the meantime, I have a separate 3-quart pot filled with 3 inches of cold tap water. Bring the  tap water to a boil. When the tap water comes to a full boil, working with 2 to 3 chicken thighs at a time, add the chicken thighs to the water. Let it cook for about 10 seconds or just until the chicken thighs turns opaque in color (this is a cleaning process to remove all impurities and gunk from the chicken thighs so it will not end up in your soup). Immediately transfer the chicken to the soup water (big pot). Repeat this "cleaning" process with the remainder of the chicken thighs.

When all the chicken is added to the soup pot, wait for the soup to come to a full boil. When the soup comes to a full boil, lower heat to a simmer. Cover pot and let it cook for 4 hours, undisturbed. When 4 hours of simmering is done, remove pot from the stove and let it cool completely before transferring the pot to the refrigerator to refrigerate overnight. The next morning, remove all the cold fat that is floating on top (I had some fat floating, but hardly any). You now have rich chicken stock ready to consume. You can add salt to taste, but I prefer not to. Chicken stock that tastes this rich doesn't need it. Transfer soup to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 1 week or place in the freezer for longer storage. This amount will last me the whole week.

NOTE: If you absolutely want to make this soup more filling, while you are reheating a portion of the soup, you can add cooked brown rice, cooked barley or quinoa, or cooked soba noodles or whole-grain pasta. At this point, you may want to add a little salt to taste. If anyone is familiar with Sweet Tomatoes Chunky Chicken Soup, this chicken broth tastes just as rich as Sweet Tomatoes (but less fat floating on top).

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