Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Easy Homemade Turkey or Chicken Stock

Frozen turkey stock,
waiting to become soup on a cold day!
Next time you roast a whole chicken or turkey, make stock from the remains. It's incredibly easy, and you’ll create a goldmine of minerals to keep in the freezer and add to your diet at will. And it tastes amazing because your body-brain registers how nutritious it is and sends the message to your tastebuds. So comforting on a cold day!

According to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, the minerals in a bone-based stock are in the form of electrolytes, so they're more easily absorbed into the body than the kind you take in pills.

We've had so much trouble trying to balance calcium and magnesium in pill form, we've come to rely on beef, poultry, or even fish stock in our diet. You'll find Joseph using it as the basis for many of his best recipes, including a few coming up on this blog that are extra-special.

So get out a big pot and discover how easily you can enhance your own diet with more mineral nutrition!

Easy Instructions for Making Chicken or Turkey Stock

First, an optional step: Using a large freezer bag, freeze the raw neck you pull from the cavity of your roasting chicken, turkey, goose, or game hen, saving the gizzard and liver separately for one of Joseph's sausage recipes or to eat now.

This is not optional: After you eat the roasted bird, be sure to add the leftover leg bones, carcass, and bits of flesh to that big freezer bag containing the raw neck. Your stock will taste even better if you’ve also stuffed and/or seasoned the bird with herbs, and basted it with red wine every half hour while cooking. Here's a great recipe.

For additional flavor, freeze some pan drippings in a little container, too, and add them while making the stock. Don’t worry about fat—you can skim it later if you insist.

To make the stock:

When you have a day at home, start in the morning by covering the frozen carcass and bones with fresh, filtered water in a stock pot or large soup kettle.

*Tip: A real stock pot is a great thing to own because it's very lightweight stainless steel, so it's not too heavy when it's full and it's easy to wash, but it holds a lot of liquid. We found ours for under $20 at a discount department store. No reason to spend more! Here's one on Amazon.

Fill the pot with water, leaving about 3-4 inches of room at the top for additions. Add about 1/2 cup leftover red or white wine, or vinegar. This will help leech valuable minerals from the bones into your stock, creating a wonderful source of calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

*Tip: We keep bottles of red and white wine for cooking in the refrigerator with a vacuum-sealed stopper. Works great! Some people think it still tastes good for drinking this way. We use the Metrokane Houdini Wine Preserver thanks to a hot tip from a brother-in-law.

Bring the pot to a rolling boil, and skim the foam that appears on the top. Do this for about 10 minutes, until the foam subsides, then add seasonings. These can vary, but we generally add

   a quartered onion
   two or three carrots cut in large pieces
   a celery stalk and some washed celery leaves
   parsley sprigs
   fresh thyme
   about ten whole peppercorns
   any frozen pan drippings

Don’t add salt; you can add it when you use the stock later. Bring to a boil again, then set the pot to simmer, covered, for 4-8 hours, checking and stirring occasionally.

When the time is up, cool the stock pot, then pour through a metal strainer. Discard bones and debris. (Meat cooked in stock is usually flavorless, so we discard it.) Save the cooled stock in the refrigerator, but be sure to freeze it if not used within 3 days. We use containers with small divisions, so we can pop out a cup or two at a time, melt it in a saucepan, and add it to recipes.
* * * *

That's it! NO MSG! Not oversalted! No unwanted chemicals! Pure nutrition, and a key ingredient for sauces, soups, casseroles, and so on. Try cooking your rice in it. Yum. I'm hooked! -- Lianne

Note from Joseph:  You'll need at least two chicken carcasses for the stock to be sufficiently flavorful in a large stock pot. If you only have one, put less water. Even better would be to throw in a bunch of chicken necks, if you can find them, and some feet, too, to add some gelatin. At our local Asian superstore, they have whole chickens with the head and feet still on. Two of those in a stock pot boiling for 8 hours and you'll have an awesome healing brew. If the idea of boiling chicken heads and feet is just too revolting to you, try cackling like a witch and intoning Macbeth:

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble…

Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing, etc.

If that doesn't work, corral a friend with a stronger stomach and talk them into it. They'll have fun making it and you'll have fun eating it. I promise!

Update: We now keep our stock in a ceramic pot in the fridge. It's a lot less work, and we end up eating it every day as a result. Check out this page for instructions.

**** Let us know in the comments how yours turned out! ****
And here's a link to more scientific info on the benefits of stock:

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