Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chicken Stock

Chicken Stock

I try to avoid making stock in the summer, between mid may and the end of September. Cooling this place is expensive and stock is a heat process. 

Snow covered skylight noon 1/18/11

So the answer is to make lots of stock during the winter, when the heat from the stove helps warm the kitchen. I can the product, so space in the freezer isn't a real problem. The basement is about 2000 square feet, not empty, but plenty of space.

First we get out the big stock pot, the 40 quart one that lives in the basement and rinse it out. I've a wood shop down there, but I don't want the fiber.

Then we get out the tools and the chicken, actually that is about 1/4 of the chicken. My supermarket chain of choice, Shoprite, was having a chicken sale with backs at 49 cents per pound, if you could find any. Quarters at 59 cents per pound. 

Now, I'm also in a year long project called #Charcutepalooza, and there are posts here with that tag. I would not be surprised that one of the projects will be a breakfast sausage, and I happen to like chicken for that so I will trim 5 pounds of dark meat for that. 

Cut off the leg, and if you use a cleaver know where your other hand is. However if you happen to make a serious error I can highly recomend Keith B. Raskin, M.D.

I cut up the pieces, here a back, as more surface area the richer the stock.

Start filling the pot, I want the water to cover the chicken by a couple of inches in either the 40 quart pot or the 20 quart pot.

And the stock pot will go on the corner burner, the one with the cast iron 'simmer' plate on it. This stove is not subtle and even with as low a flame as will stay on, I need to separate the bottom of the pot from the flame to avoid to hard of a boil. 

And my five pounds of dark meat for sausage in the near future.

And a watched pot never boils, and I don't want a boil, just a strong simmer for at least six hours.

About one hour before I finish the stock, I add onions, carrots and celery in a 2:1:1 ratio, in this case I'm using 5 pounds of onions so it is 2 1/2 each of the other two.

Add peppercorns, thyme and salt to taste. 

After the hour with the vegetables strain and cool. I've been known to use a snowbank or ice in the sink. You can not cool this safely in a refrigerator, it doesn't have the cooling power. You only have a couple of hours to get it below 40 F. However a 10 degree breeze in a snow bank is quite effective.

That is the stock, fat removed, and brought back to a boil about to be canned. It would be prettier if strained through cheesecloth, but I don't bother. This is going to be used in other foods, not served.
Canning funnel and short handled ladle, but needed. And 16 clean 1 pint Ball wide mouth jars. I only use wide mouth pints as they can be frozen and are easier to clean. Since this is going to be in boiling water for over 10 minutes I do not bother sterilizing the jars, just make certain that they are clean. They aren't hot either, I used to heat them, but I've never lost a jar because of thermal stress.

The lids are kept, until used in a pot of warm water, it will help the sealant flow. 


It can kill you.

The screw bands in the lower corner serve only to keep the lid in place during processing, finger tight only. And careful, those jars are now boiling hot.

There is a fully loaded pressure canner, and if the device doesn't say it is a canner do not use it for canning. There are pressure cookers which are not meant for canning. There is boiling water in the bottom and 3 tablespoons of white vinegar to prevent mineral build up on the glass.


On the heat, I'm waiting for the interlock to close, then I will let it vent air for a specified time

Once it has finished venting, I will close the vent and let pressure come up to an indicated 12 pounds, which is what I need for my altitude, taking the dial calibration into account.

Once cooled the jars will join their brethern in the basement, that is about half the canned goods, the pickles and some stock are on another set of shelves. 

However I've a few more dozen jars on hand, about 12 as well as 7 dozen quarts and lots of smaller jars. 

I find the wide mouth pint to be the right size for most things, but do put up vegetable juice and some stock in quarts. 1/2 pints get used for some jams as well as some mustards.

A well stocked pantry is a good thing, and this one needs the stock shelf re-stocked.

Lobster, chicken, pork, veal, beef, lamb and vegetable on hand.

A general note, this will work for any stock. Fish and vegetable stocks don't simmer as long, beef you can actually cool the bones and do a second pot the next day, remoulage it is called.

In a dark or brown stock the bones are roasted prior to the simmer, in a light or white stock they aren't. Any meat can be done in either. I use roasted poultry bones but consider the result to be light.

Further instructions on pressure canning may be found here and on the web 

Pictures taken with a Nikon CoolPix
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© 2011 Virginia L. Dyson & Warner W. Johnston

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