Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Good Way To Spend A Sick Day

Rachel here.

For quite a while now we've been buying our chickens whole. John deftly dismembers the birds for us (learning how to butcher a chicken is definitely on my to-do list and I seriously admire his prowess). Sometimes we grind some of the meat and turn it into chicken burgers; others we try to one-up each other with homemade barbecue sauces. Always, though, we set the bones aside.

Regular readers know that we don't do store-bought chicken stock in this house. Homemade stock is so unfalteringly superior and so easy to make that we just refuse. Home sick on Monday, and with M off with one of our dear friends, I decided to tackle the serious pile of chicken bones that we'd accumulated in our freezer over the past few months. Though it's the middle of summer, it was nice to spend the day making something cozy and warm, something that fit with my ill demeanor.

I sliced a large white onion in half and then cut each half into wedges. I halved the wedges and threw them in the stockpot with all of the chicken bones. I hacked up a couple of carrots and half a bunch of celery or so and tossed these in, too, before covering the ingredients with water and adding a few bay leaves. I let it simmer for hours and hours.

When the stock was done and our house smelled amazing, I put a ladle in the freezer to chill while the stock cooled down a bit. I strained the stock, saving the insides, and then pulled the ladle from the freezer. Icy cold, the fat from the stock easily clung to the ladle and was removed in no time. I carefully sorted through the insides from the stock, removing all of the bones and cartilage bits and fat nubs. While doing so, everything became a hearty mash for M to eat (she loves this stuff for some reason, though it's really not flavorful at all).

I portioned the stock into containers, leaving room for it to expand, and then put it into our freezer. When the day was over, we had a few nights of hearty food for M and several servings of chicken stock in our freezer. Though I still felt sick, it felt good to have so much homemade goodness for my family.

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