Most of times when we think of doing a non-vegetarian soup or dish that ask for chicken stock, we land up thinking where to get from. Making a homemade chicken stock is always an excellent thought and can also be stored for few weeks. A little strain, but the final product would be fruitful, healthy, fresh and nutritious stock.
There is nothing like making an all natural chicken broth at home as it actually does take a long time as the actual work is minimal and the procedure quite simple. Generally there are two basic ways in making the chicken stock. First method, using the leftover bones from a chicken carcass and vegetables and takes several hours of simmer cooking whereas the second method uses chicken backs and wings, sautéing and cooking them for about and hour till done. Many prefer the second method as it yields richer, delicious stock but the first method is an excellent way for not wasting the good bones. Here the leftovers bones are roasted and cooked for a longer time giving an awesome brown color stock. This obviously takes longer time but the flavors are rich and deeper.
It is good that you try both ways so that you can see which you like and for what dish you can use as there are few recipes like soups, white sauces and white stew & braises that require a clear white chicken stock. For this you could gently simmer the bones for a period of time giving the stock a milder flavor and lighter color than the brown chicken stock.
For preparing the homemade chicken stock, firstly take a large stock pot or big saucepan and put in about a kilo of chicken bones (you can use neck, back or wings pieces), 1 large onions pieces, 2 carrot (peeled) and cut in large chunks, 1 or 2 celery cut in large chunks, 1 bay leaf, few black peppercorns, 4 sprigs of thyme, 2 peeled cloves garlic and then add about three quarts of water. Bring the heat to high and watch closely till the water comes to a boiling point. Once the water reaches to the boiling point, reduce the heat to a nice gentle simmer. You would find some impurities floating to the top in the form of fat or foam. Remove it with a spoon.
Gently simmer for about 3 to 4 hours or could also be kept for about 6 to 8 hours (as done in restaurants) removing any impurities as they form on the surface on the water. When done, remove and strain the stock through a fine meshed strainer. Allow the stock to cool and then transfer it to airtight containers and store in the refrigerator for up to a week and so. You may find a thin layer of fat that has congealed on the surface of the stock after you have refrigerated it. Just scrape it off with a spoon. You can also freeze your brown chicken stock up to 3 months.
Here is your rich, flavorful Chicken broth or stock which is an important ingredient used for preparing all sorts of soups and stews. Few tips that you could follow: You can add onion chunks along with its skin which adds a rich brown color to the stock as well as flavor. The celery leaves also adds a depth of flavor and fragrance to the stock. Carrots give an amazing sweetish tinge to the stock. If you like your stock to be little savory, then reduce the quantity of carrots. Fresh black peppercorns give that bit of spiciness and the fragrance of thyme goes very well into the stock.
Thyme is a fragrant, small leafed culinary herb which is used frequently in Mediterranean, Italian and Provencal French cuisines. It pairs excellently well with lamb and tomatoes and is often used in soups, stews, stock and sauces. Other herbs that can be combined well with thyme include rosemary, marjoram, parsley, oregano and bay leaf. The leaves of thyme are usually lightly crushed before adding them, which releases the volatile, flavorful oils.
Through centuries, thyme has also been used as a remedy for many ailments, from epilepsy to melancholy. Prescribed by herbalist to cure intestinal worms, gastrointestinal ailments, bronchial problems, diarrhea and lack of appetite, it also has antiseptic properties.