Monday, August 2, 2010

Roast Chicken, Parts IV and V

After I roasted a whole chicken, and made two recipes with the leftovers, I only had a chicken carcass and a few scraps remaining. But, the Cooking For One cookbook managed to squeeze another two recipes from that!

So Roast Chicken Part IV was to make homemade chicken stock. I always think of chicken stock as something that only pioneer women did. (That, or modern day people who have excess time on their hands.) But despite my reservations, I dug out my largest stock pot and resolved to give it a go.

Figure: Start with rough chopped onion, peppercorns, a bay leaf, fresh rosemary, and whatever spices you care to toss in.
I added the seasonings to a big pot of water, and tossed in vegetable scraps I had in the freezer, and the chicken carcass. I keep vegetable scraps ever since I read this article, pointing out how you can be frugal and use those wastes.

Figure: At this point, the kitchen begins to smell fantastic.

Then you let that simmer away - I let it go for a few hours in the afternoon while I busied myself with other things. When everything is tender and all those flavors have melded together, you put it through a strainer and get:

Figure: Extract-of-chicken - steaming nutritious goodness!

Then that goes in the fridge, and the fat congeals and rises to the top. In the magic Julia-Child style, I have fast-forwarded to show you:

Figure: Still nutritious, doesn't look delicious anymore. We'll just skim that off and move right along.
I then divided the broth into 1-cup, 2-cup, and ice cube trays. Just like I did when I made vegetable broth.

Figure: Useful for all manner of future cooking endeavors.

I stripped the chicken of the last few scraps, and proceeded to the finale - Roast Chicken Part V, Chicken Soup!
Figure: The remnants. The chicken has given its all.
I couldn't bear to NOT eat chicken soup, after my whole apartment was permeated with the delicious chicken stock aromas. So I put some of that stock, and fresh chopped up veggies, potatoes, and spices back in the pot:
Figure: Actually looks a lot like the stock. But there's no bones, which is key. And the veggies are fresh, not the random tops and scraps saved from the freezer.

Hey presto, dinner!

Figure: Do you see the garnish? I want credit for the garnish.
My big soup pot apparently makes enough for five meals, so for the next week I had soup. 

Figure: More than enough soup. Can we be done with this chicken already?
Fortunately, those pioneer women were on to something - homemade chicken stock is much more delicious than the canned variety. Fuller, deeper flavor, not as salty. I love it.

But I don't love it enough to make chicken again any time soon. Bring on the steak, or something else!

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