Son of a Batch

A lot of time, people get defensive when I discuss using, say, fresh chicken stock instead of the stuff from cans, jars, tins, bottles or aseptic boxes. "I don't have time!" they'll say.

Well, neither do I. Do you think my daily itinerary is so devoid of activities and committment I can leisurely crush bales of tomatoes for fresh marinara or make stock or pesto, etc. from scratch whenever the occasion calls for it?

Hell, no.

What I do, instead, is engage in batch cooking. For example, tonight, after several roast chickens, I'm making chicken stock. All you need is the Most Excellent Roast chicken and what my wife jokingly calls "organic water." You hack up the carcasses, dump them in a stockpot and fill with water to the brim and simmer s-l-o-w-l-y. That's it. My stockpot has a colander-like insert and when the liquid part has turned a lovely golden/copper sort of color (like a Bass ale, say), I drain out the now-spent solid bits. THEN -- and follow closely, because this is key -- I simmer the liquid down to a concentrate. Figure that one chicken's worth of stock will cheerfully fit (once concentrated properly) in a 24oz Mason jar for refrigerator duty...or an equivalent zipper-lock bag for the freezer. No need to season it, or add vegetables or aromatics.*

The same applies to pesto, or basic marinara or beef stock, etc.

More to follow.

-J.

* By this I mean no need to add them to the making of this concentrate. If I were making some variant of soup, etc. naturally I'd add carrots/celery/onions and some cloves/salt/peppercorns.

Comments

Jess said…
hear, hear.

Tastes lovely and makes the house smell so good.
Bec said…
Indeed, and no comparison can be made with any commercial equivalents - texture!!

I do a regular prawn risotto where the shells from the green peeled prawns go into the colander section of my stock pot for half an hour or so before the rice hits the EVOO - lift the colander out, dump the shells, use the liquid. Instant (fresh) prawn stock.
KPB said…
You're always so sensible.

I've been known to do the same - and throw any other leftovers into the pot as well.
Joke said…
I have a black belt in "sensible."

-J.
tut-tut said…
We do the same around here, but we freeze the stock in ice-cube trays. We then use 1 cup water to 1 cube when making any receipt calling for chicken stock. My husband is the stock maker, and he also concentrates it down in the same manner you do.
Joke said…
Just to be safe, once the stock is fozen solid, I'd pop it out and save it in a ziplock bag. That way:

1- You have freed up the ice cube tray
2- You may label the bag to denote that it's chicken or veal or whatever stock
3- You forestall "sublimation"
4- You make sure no weird flavors invade your stock.

Just a thought,

-J.
tut-tut said…
Sorry, I should have been more explicit. That is EXACTLY what is done after the freezing in the trays. Same with pesto, but not with marinara sauce, which goes in large plastic hard-sided containers.

I hope you know the trick with tomato paste left in the jar: take your smallest ice cream–type scoop, and scoop individual units onto a cookie sheet. Freeze, then pop into freezer bag(s).
Caro said…
I almost always make my own stock.

It started because of the gluten/casein issues with SJ.

When I am out of homemade and use the store bought, it is nowhere near as delicious.
Bec said…
Shredded Granny Pants - with photos - are finally up at the Ladies Lounge. Delicious and even better tasting for lunch today, so THANKS.

Now I'm just going to check my site meter for psychos googling for granny pants.
Priscilla said…
Uh thank you! I am a terribly busy woman working in real estate until the wee hours. Do you really think I have time to make stock from scratch? YES! Because I'm worth it!

I plan chicken dinners so that I can make stock for my winter soups, of which are plenty.

Love the zippy bag thing. I now have a disgraceful side by side fridge but if I put a cookie sheet in there I can lay the bag flat, freeze, stack them and have chichen stock any time.

The can stuff is in my pantry, waiting patiently for the day I do not have enough home made stock.

LIVE, LOVE, CREATE HOMEMADE STOCK.
Joke said…
Try some decaf, Poppy!

Love,

-J.

P.S. You may also want to blink.

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