Ok, so I have been talking about how great stock is to eat. I guess it is time to share how to make stock. There are 2 different ways that I make it. 1) cook a whole soup hen, then half way through take the meat off. 2) purchase soup bones from your butcher. Either way it works, if you cook the whole hen you just add 1 extra step. Since my local farm has been selling their organic soup hens for $3 ea. I purchased 12 🙂 So I will share how to make it with the whole bird.
1 soup hen
2 large carrots, trimmed and peeled
1 large onion, peeled and cut in half
2 celery stalks, trimmed
1 tbsp peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1. Place the first 4 ingredients in a large stock pot. Cover with water and cook over medium heat.
2. As the stock cooks a foam will develop on top, skim this off and discard. The foam contains any impurities there may be.
3. After foam has been skimmed off then add the peppercorns and bay leaf.
4. After cooking for about 3 hours, you may remove the bird from the water. Allow to cool to the touch ( we don’t want burnt fingers). Then remove the skin from the bird, placing it back into the water. Remove the meat and place in bowl, cover the meat and place it in fridge for later use.
5. Return the bones to the stock pot. As you have noticed the amount of water has gone down significantly as there is a lot less to displace it. Add about 4 more cups of water to the pot and continue to cook for another 3-5 hours.
6. The stock should have reduced and be a golden color. Remove pot from heat and strain it into another container. I like to use a big plastic pitcher to strain it into.
If you plan to use it immediately then follow the instructions in your recipe. I don’t like to salt my stock until I use it. That I can control the amount of sodium that I am consuming. If you are going to use it within 2-3 days cover and place in fridge. When you go to use it, you are able to skim off the fat that rises to the top (if you wish). Otherwise freeze the stock in a freezer safe container.