January 27, 2015

Chicken Stock

The spices didn't want to photobomb,
but thyme makes fools of us all. Puns!
There's something special about a good chicken stock. As some people may recall, I'm often a fan of replacing it with vegetable stock. But sometimes you just need the genuine article. And since it really isn't feasible to fly out your grandmother every time you feel like soup, sometimes you have to nut up, get creative, and backwards manufacture some awesome goddamn stock from some idealized memories of how awesome things were when we were young! It's the same mental process people go through when voting, but with a much better result. 


1 Onion
1 lb Carrots
1 Bunch 'O Celery
1 Parsnip
1 Average sized Ginger Root
2 TBSP salt
1 tsp ground Thyme
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
An unspecified amount of Water
3 lb Assorted Chicken Bits (go for something with bones and collagen, like necks or wings, for an awesome depth of flavor. But, if you like paying more for worse soup, feel free to put in chicken breast. Don't let anybody tell you that you're a sucker, no matter how obvious it is!)

The first step here is to peel your ginger, parsnip, carrots, and celery. Because peels are covered in dirt and grime, which has an unfortunate and mysterious habit of tasting like dirt and grime. If you really don't want to peel these things, either because you're a contrarian or because some witch doctor told you not to, you can get away with just vigorously rinsing the carrots and parsnip. For similar reasons (the presence of dirt, not you being a witch-doctor-beliving nonsense-person), now is a good time to rinse your celery. 

I don't know why they call it scum.
 Gunk seems more appropriate.
Once your vegetation is all nice and clean, chop it into large chunks. You're going to eventually be straining it out, so you want your veggie bits to be easy to spot and/or remove. Take a large pot, and place all your vegetables, and your chicken bits, inside. Fill it up until there's about an inch and a half of water covering the ingredients (some people choose to use filtered or even bottled water for soups and stocks. But then they WASH all of their utensils and pots in regular water. These people are stupid). Finally, add your salt, pepper, and thyme to your pot 'o eventual goodness. Bring the whole thing to a boil, and then cover it with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook it like that for about an hour and a half.

Scum free, and ready to mingle
Now for the fun part, and by "fun" I mean "kind of gross, but not that bad, really." There's something people call "scum" that generally forms on the top of chicken stock. It's tasteless, and ultimately harmless, but it's pretty ugly. Kind of like Howard Stern. You can use a spoon to remove it about 20 minutes into the cooking process if you'd like. Or you can leave it. It'll disperse and your stock will be slightly cloudier and darker. It's like a choose-your-own-adventure book, except there are only two options worth noting! (so it's EXACTLY like a choose-your-own-adventure book) In any event, once your stock is finished cooking, the only thing left to do is to strain the chicken and vegetables out, using any method you prefer based on your access to kitchen gadgets and/or wussery. And there you have it! Delicious, versatile chicken stock, for you make sauces, soups, and various whatnots.

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