An attorney writes about stuff she'd rather be doing: cooking, eating, wining, dining and traveling.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

60 Minute Chicken Stock

A rich, flavorful stock that tastes like roasted chicken in less than an hour? Thank you, The Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated! This recipe uses small pieces of chicken and a method that causes them to release the flavor in minimal time.

60 Minute Chicken Stock (adapted from The Best Recipe and my momma)
1 large onion, chopped
4 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs, hacked into 2 inch pieces (use a cleaver, sharp chef's knife, or kitchen shears)
2 quarts boiling water
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp. olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven
Saute the onion for about 3 minutes, remove from pan
Saute the chicken pieces (in 2 batches) until no longer pink, about 6 minutes
Return all chicken and onion to pot
Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook for 20 minutes (this will cause the chicken to "sweat" out its juices)
Add water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer on very low for 20 minutes

Remove the chicken pieces and pull off meat for soup or other use*
Strain stock to remove solids

Important: chill stock overnight in the fridge. This will cause the fat to rise to the top and solidify. In the morning. you can skim the fat for a less greasy, healthier stock.

* The chicken will lose a lot of its flavor due to the sweating process, and The Best Recipe recommends discarding the meat. However, I cannot bring myself to throw out that much chicken meat, and I have found that the meat is just fine for use in a chicken noodle soup, a chicken chili, or in other highly seasoned dishes calling for shredded chicken. I wouldn't eat it plain on a salad, but as long as the dish has some flavor, it's totally fine. If I ate enchiladas, I would probably put it in an enchilada dish.

To make into soup, sinply heat with sliced carrots and diced celery. Add some of the shredded chicken. Cook some egg noodles and voila! I do not recommend storing the noodles in the soup, as they will absorb most of the liquid. Cook and store separately!

Cook Like A Crazy Person

As tends to be the case in the legal world, there are stretches of time that are just INSANE busy. For me, that has been the case since June. Throw in 8 or 9 weddings, several out of town trips (both business and pleasure), and that explains why Mr. Foodie and I have been subsisting off frozen pizzas, take-out, sandwiches, and truth be told (earmuffs, Mom), wine-only 9pm dinners for the last several months.

We just had 5 weddings in the last 30 days, and I've been working 12 hour days. This being my first free weekend in what seems like eternity, I cooked, slept, and sipped red wine while in comfy pants. It was glorious.

I return to legal craziness tomorrow. Fortunately, I managed to stock the Foodie freezer with the following to get us through the next stretch:

2 quart-sized bags of chicken soup made with homemade stock
2 quart-sized bags of taco soup
2 quart-sized bags of vegetable soup with ditalini pasta
1 gallon-sized bag of chicken chile verde
2 dinner portions of meatballs
1 big bag of mini-meatballs for pizza or soup
2 meatloaves
1 spinach and feta pie
2 pans of cheese manicotti
1 pan of spinach and cheese lasagna

And, courtesy of Mr. Foodie, 2 quart-sized bags of his famous smoky beer 'n bacon man chili. Don't worry girls, you'll like it too.

It is somewhat of a relief to know that we will have REAL food to eat and that Mr. Foodie can have ready when I get home. Back to the grind...

2 quarts of Mr. Foodie's smoky beer 'n bacon man chili