Canning / Poultry

Homemade Chicken Stock and a Tangy Chicken Marinade

As of late, I have much preferred eating chicken on the bone, as opposed to the tasteless, boneless, skinless variety.  I prefer chicken thighs in most dishes because they always stay so tender.  Also, whole cut-up chickens have the advantage of coming with all sort of other “parts.”  Yesterday I bought 2 whole, cut-up roasters at the farmers market. Thus I offer the following chicken-related recipes: (1) yummy chicken marinade and (2) homemade chicken stock recipe.

1.  Yummy Marinade.
I put all the chicken pieces that we were going to grill in a ziploc bag with the following mixture:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1 tsp hot sauce
1 tsp salt

The chicken marinaded a couple hours and  I also cracked some fresh pepper on it before we threw it on the grill.  About 5 minutes before cooking ended we brushed it with BBQ sauce, but you could taste the marinade in the finished product and the chicken was so good and so juicy.  I think this marinade would be good on boneless breast too and REALLY good on salmon.  Honestly, I’m a fan of any marinade that includes mustard.  I don’t really like mustard on its own, but I believe it to be a miracle ingredient in cooking.

2. Homemade Chicken Stock.
So getting back to these “other parts” that came with the roasters… necks, sternum (for lack of a better description), wings (no sense in grilling these), some random skin, gizzards, etc. It really is easy to do and I usually have all of the these things in the fridge and pantry anyway.  Plus, it’s fairly quick (on your part), most of the “work” is waiting for it to simmer (unless you are neatly arranging things so that you can take a picture for your blog. Then it takes a bit longer!)

I threw all the chicken parts (about 2 lbs) in a big pot with the following:
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
3-4 celery stalks, washed and chopped
1 med onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
5-6 peppercorns
2-3 bay leaves (I love the bay flavor in stock so I use a lot of bay)
1 Tbs of salt (I used kosher and the granules are bigger so if you use table salt you’ll probably want a little less)
8-10 cups water (this will depend on how many chicken parts you’re adding)

Basically, you want just enough water to cover the chicken. If you add too much water you’ll get broth that’s water instead of rich and chicken-y.  You can always add a little more water as it cooks too.  So throw all the ingredients in the pool and bring to a boil.  I let it boil about 10-15 minutes and skim the crud from the top every five minutes or so.  Then turn it down to simmer and let simmer 2-3 hours.  I read one website that simmered 4-5, but I just don’t have that kind of time! Although I will say that I’ve turned the stove off after 2-3 hours and let it sit for a couple hours.  I’ve said it was because I was letting it cool, but really I was too lazy to deal with it.

After you’ve simmered your heart out, strain through a mesh strainer then return to the pot.  I bring it to a boil once more, then turn it down to simmer for a half hour.  This concentrates it and give you another opportunity to skim crud (i.e. fat) from the surface.  Then I let it cool completely and package in freezer bags in 2 cup increments.  Whenever I need stock I just soak the bag in a pot of hot water for 15 minutes or so and voila!

In the end, I ended up with 10 cups of stock.  That will at least last me until I end up with more chicken parts.

Hopefully the next roaster we eat will be one of our own! The roasters are giant and ready to go (and by “to go” I mean “be butchered”).  Our neighbor said he’d show us how so we just need to get in touch with him.  You can bet a blog post will follow that experience, but I will not post gruesome pics, I promise.

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