Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chicken Stock

One of our followers asked, "What is chicken stock?" and I felt this was the perfect opportunity to discuss the difference between chicken stock and chicken broth as well as link you to my method for creating a delicious stock. In my previous post for homemade chicken noodle soup, I begin with how I make stock for the soup so if you choose to make your own stock please reference the above link.

What is chicken stock?
Chicken stock is a heavily concentrated reduction of bones and bony parts along with a lesser (if any) amount of breasts, thighs, and legs. Fresh vegetables and seasonings can be added for richer flavoring. After straining, stock will turn gelatinous when cooled (as opposed to broth, which remains in a mostly liquid state).

To create a true stock, the liquid and chicken carcass – plus added ingredients – must simmer for a minimum of six hours. This results in a darker concentrate that is then added to recipes. Many cooks refer to a stock as the “foundation of the kitchen,” which translates into the French “fond de cuisine.”

Buying Tips
• Good quality chicken stock can be purchased at gourmet and health food stores as well as through on-line retailers. Always read the label if purchasing in a standard grocery; be sure that it is true stock and not broth.
• Some specialty markets will save chicken carcasses upon request.
• Bony wing tips, necks, and backbones are excellent for a thick stock. Any type of chicken will work (i.e., roasters, fryers, stewing hens).

Storage Tips
• Refrigerate stock as soon as it cools. It should remain good for about three days. To “freshen,” re-simmer for about fifteen minutes, cool, and return to the fridge.
• Since stock is concentrated, it can be frozen in ice cube trays, then popped into freezer bags. Remove a cube or two as needed for soups and stews. It will be good for several months in the freezer.

Usage Tips
• Remember: stock can be used to create a broth, but not the reverse.
• When boiling a chicken for salads or cooked dishes, remove the meat and return the bones to the liquid. Continue simmering for the perfect stock.
• The most common vegetables used to make stock are onions, celery, and carrots (mirepoix).
• Use stock for deglazing; broth will not work.
• Mixed with flour to create a veloute, one of the “mother sauces.”

Substitution Tips
• Chicken broth can be used in many recipes, but the flavor will not be as full.

Thank you Big Oven for the informative article on chicken stock.

What is chicken broth?
Chicken broth is technically a reduction of liquid from the various meaty parts of a chicken that are simmered in water. Vegetables are often added to increase flavor. The breasts and/or legs and thighs are removed after approximately three hours of cooking and used in other dishes.
Broth tends to be more liquid and lower in fat, especially when allowed to cool and the top layer is skimmed. At this stage, a thin broth can be strained, seasoned, and consumed as soup.

Varieties
• Homemade broth has better flavor than commercially canned products.
• Canned and carton broths are convenient and will keep for a very long time unopened. Reduced sodium and organic versions are available.
• Bouillon cubes and granules (also available in reduced sodium) are handy and have an even longer shelf life.

Buying Tips
• Look for “stewing” hens for making broth (as opposed to roasters).

Storage Tips
• Fresh broth can be kept in the refrigerator for about three days. It is easily frozen and will keep for several months.
• Freeze in small quantities that can be thawed – as needed - slowly in the microwave.

Usage Tips
• To keep fresh broth clear, bring the chicken parts and water to a boil and reduce the heat. For about twenty minutes, continuously skim the surface to remove proteins.
• If it does cloud, simmer for a few minutes with an egg white and strain to turn it into a clear consomm√©.
• Broth – fresh or canned – can be substituted for water when cooking rice.
• When making broth, do not include the heart or liver, which will darken the liquid. Also, use seasonings and other additives sparingly; these can be included when the broth is used in a recipe.
• Because broth is lighter than stock, it can be used as a partial water substitute in many milder recipes.
• To tenderize and add flavor to a tough onion, chop and simmer for two hours in a saucepan filled with broth. Strain and reuse the broth at a later time.

Substitution Tips
• Chicken stock with water added.

Thank you Big Oven for the informative article on chicken broth.

1 comment:

SWIRL said...

Amanda- I think you are adorable. Thanks for sharing your passion for cooking- my family appreciates it.