Yesterday, as I made stock out of my two newly butchered hens, I decided to read about stock in Serious Eats. My stock method is mostly just throw whatever scraps I have into the pot and simmer for hours. But these were special chickens–gorgeous, rich meat and fat–and I wanted to do right by them.
I’d tried J. Kenji López-Alt’s method of chopping chicken into tiny bits, but it made a total charnal house of my kitchen, so I wanted to explore what else they suggested. Daniel Gritzner had a comprehensive article, and the comments about using a pressure cooker or bringing the stock to a boil then setting it in a 225 degree oven overnight interested me. I’m also going to try adding an apple with the onions, carrots, etc. The most interesting idea to me was to use one stock as a base to make another stock, layering and enriching the flavor. I’m definitely going to try that.
I made one change right away. I had always added chicken and water first, with a little vinegar to leach the calcium out of the bones, then added vegetables after a couple of hours. But after reading the article, I threw threw in the aromatics right away, simmered for a lot less time, and in a couple of hours had the richest most delicious stock, truly cooks’ gold.
The dark color is because I sautéed the chicken first–I like the richer flavor for most sauces–although I also make light stock sometimes. I added a couple of eggshells to help clarify the stock. I strained the stock and simmered it down to concentrate it before freezing in ice cube trays.
Meanwhile, I took some of the meat out once it was tender but not overcooked, and made some tinga with tomatoes, onions, lemon, oregano and cumin sautéed in schmaltz, simmered in stock. Delicious in a tortilla with a little thin sliced cabbage, cheese and hot sauce.
Delicious dinner, great future cooking.
When I strained the stock, I saved a big jar of schmaltz–I’m going to have to research cooking with it, just seems too good to discard.