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Making Chicken Stock

~by Laura’s Dad (AKA Charles Stockwell, digital artist)

It’s the middle of January. The thermometer on the porch reads minus 3 degrees. The woodstove in the kitchen is glowing red around the stovepipe. Now is the time to make chicken stock.

All year I save carcasses of roasted Costco chickens in plastic bags and store them in the freezer. I take out two carcasses and dump them into a stockpot along with 12 cups of water, 2 yellow onions (peeled and cut into quarters), and 2 heads of garlic (cut in half crosswise to expose the cloves). Then I dump in a tablespoon of coarse Kosher salt, 2 tablespoons of whole black peppercorns, 12 bay leaves, and ¼ teaspoon of turmeric.

I stir this all together and bring it to a boil on the hottest part of the stove. Then I cover the pot, move it away from the fire, and let the stock simmer for about 3 hours, checking often to make sure it’s simmering exactly right. If simmering too much, I move it away from the fire; if not enough, I move it closer.

After 3 hours, the chicken bones are falling apart, the alliums have turned to mush, and the kitchen smells wonderful. I strain the contents of the pot through a colander set over a large bowl, discard the solids, and put the liquid out on the porch to cool, making sure to cover the bowl so the critters won’t get into it. If it’s warm out, I leave the stock on the porch overnight; if it’s wicked cold, for only an hour or two. Then I bring it in, scrape off and discard the yellow fat on top, and pour the stock into old 32-ounce yogurt containers. You could also pour it into ice cube trays, freeze and then put the stock cubes in a freezer bag or measure it out into any other container of your choosing. The stock keeps in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

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