How to Make a Wonderful Rich Stock Recipe
I had every intention of posting this yesterday, but got sidetracked......I was in a cleaning out mood. Most people do a Spring Cleaning, not me, I do a New Year's Winter Cleaning. After all the Christmas decorations are back up in the attic, it is time to clean house. I have been especially motivated this year because it has been too darn cold to go outside. I can not believe the harsh weather we have been having in Florida, we have lost a lot of our tropical plants, but I know I cannot complain after all the damage I have seen to the citrus farms around here. I even read that a tropical fish farm suffered almost complete losses due to their ponds freezing. Forecasters say that the weather is going back to normal today. I (and the puppies) am looking forward to it!
OK, enough complaining about our weather.....on to Cornish Game Hen stock. There is nothing like homemade stock, it adds SO much more flavor to your foods. While my wonderful hubby was deboning all those Cornish Hens for us over the weekend, I reminded him to please save all the bones he removed so I could make stock. When he was all done, I put them in my large stock pot with some celery, carrots, sliced onions, and parsley. This was perfect timing as I had purchased too much celery and I had a bag of baby carrots that were starting to dry out. I covered it all with cold water, added a couple black peppercorns and a heavy dash of salt and brought it all to a boil. I reduced the heat and simmered uncovered for about 4 hours. I occasionally skimmed the foam and fat that came to the surface and gave it a quick stir.
I removed the pot from the heat to allow everything to cool slightly and then used my spider to remove most of the bones and large pieces of veggies.
When the stock was cool, I placed a large bowl in my sink with my strainer on top and poured the stock through. I then placed the bowl in an ice bath to bring the stock temperature down so I could cover the bowl and put it in the fridge until morning. Using an ice bath helps ensure the temperature is quickly reduced to a safe storage temperature of 40º F or less, therefore there is less chance of food spoilage. In the morning, the fat had risen to the top and solidified, I used a large spoon to skim it off.
Then I used a 2 cup measuring cup and poured the stock into resealable sandwich bags. I discovered this method from my mom. It saves room in the freezer. I made sure all the bags were sealed tight and placed them in the freezer for a couple of hours.
After the stock had frozen I placed 3 of the sandwich bags into a labeled freezer bag. Back in the freezer they went all ready to be used whenever I need them. Just some quick notes: I try to keep 3 freezer bags in my freezer. One label, chicken scraps, one beef scraps and one veggie scraps. When deboning chicken breast or thighs, if you do not have enough to make a stock, just pop them in the freezer bag and put it back in the freezer. When your bag is full, it is time to make stock, you don't even have to defrost them. In your veggie bag, you can put in celery and carrot ends, carrots and celery getting past their prime or carrot peeling. When it is time to make stock, use what veggies are in the bag and supplement with fresh if there are not enough.
Also, if your stock seems a little weak even though you have simmered it all day, you can add a little chicken base, I have had great sucess with Better Than Bouillon. I do not recommend using chicken boullion cubes as they tend to be too salty.