Tonight we were in the mood for some comfort food. Not the kind that that is drizzled in cheese (though I am always in the mood for that…) but something that we could pop in the oven, and would unquestionably turn into a delicious meal. The first time we ever made a whole chicken, my husband was eager to use his grandmother’s recipe. It was a hit and we have made countless chickens since. We have also gotten into the habit of making stock. Nothing fancy here, but I can’t argue with a fool proof meal that will feed us for days!
Steps and Notes:
- Rinse the chicken, take out innards, fill the cavity with celery, onions, and carrots.
- Truss the chicken! (If this is a new concept, get a quick lesson here for a fun explanation, or here for one that’s extra profesh from SuperChef Thomas Keller ).
- Season it with oil, salt, and cajun seasoning (if you don’t have that, combine garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, paprika, and celery salt)
- Lay the chicken breast side up in a roasting pan
- Bake: at 500 for 10 minutes.
- Then, at 400 for 10 minutes per pound.
As for stock, everyone always says that homemade stock has far more flavor than store bought, and it is TRUE. This is one of the easiest ways to save some money and add tremendous flavor to many future dishes. I always cook a huge batch, enough so I can make soup during the week and also freeze a bunch.
Steps and Notes:
- Prepare the Veggies
- Throughout the week leading up to a stock night I save scraps of carrots, the leaves of celery and ends of onions when making other recipes. We live in the city and don’t yet compost so this feels like some good recycling.
- We usually use: carrots, celery, onion, garlic (skins on) but have also used leeks, potatoes, green beans, and parsnips.
- One website suggests corn cobs. I’ll have to try that sometime!
- Put the carcass into a soup pot filled with cold water and slowly bring to a simmer
- Throw in everything… the bones, the neck, the skin, any extra fat. Just got for it.
- Do not add organs to the pot, as they will make your broth bitter.
- Add Spices & Veggies
- Bay leaves, whole peppercorns
- DON’T add salt. It is going to cook down and that can get out of control salty. So, just salt your meal later when you use it for cooking.
- Check in every now and then
- Remove the scum as you go, but don’t stress over this part. You can skim it again later after it separates.
- Cook it for a long time
- Honestly, I just cook it as long as I can. 3-4 hours perhaps. I’ve done it for 8 before. Another easy way is to put it in a crock pot and simmer all night on low.
- Strain, cool and skim the stock
- Strain the stock removing all of the bones and vegetables. It is better to ladle the broth out rather than pour it in order to avoid bottom sediment.
- I often put it in the refrigerator overnight. Once cool, skim the top layer off the stock and discard. It should now be thick and gelatinous, similar to loose jello.