Now I'm a complete convert.
Great chicken stock is the base for great cooking. It's as simple as that.
Step 1: Getting Started
Set some time aside to make stock though, it's an all day affair.
Step 2: The Secret
I know, I know, eeew, gross, how could you? Why would you?
Because chicken feet make chicken stock great. Seriously, chicken feet are full of collagen, the material that makes connective fibers. Collagen, when you cook it slowly at a low heat breaks down into gelatin. Gelatin is what gives stock the rich smooth mouth feel that makes you wonder "How come their soup always comes out better than mine?" Well they probably made stock with stuff that had a lot of collagen in it.
Where would I get these feet?
Try a butcher, not the guy in the white coat at the supermarket but a real butcher who actually cuts up animals. Try Chinatown, the Mexican carniceria, ask at the farmer's market, grow your own chickens...get creative. Trust me you want them.
Anyhow, back to our stock. I break down the carcasses of eight chickens and throw them into the pot then I add the feet and necks (another collagen goldmine) from eight chickens that I have saved from butchering day.
You don't want to add any organ meat but other meat scraps or trimmings are fine. You can add some salt now or do it to taste at the end. I don't generally add any salt because my leftovers are from roasted chickens and there is enough salty rub left on them to season the stock.
Fill the pot up with cold water. Make sure you have enough space to throw in some vegetables after the bones have been cooking for a while.
Put the pot on the stove and start heating it. The idea is to bring it up to a very low boil and then turn it down to a simmer. A simmer means- blurp... a bubble came up...a few seconds pass...blurp... there's another bubble.
Slow and low is what we're after here.
Let the bones simmer uncovered for 4-5 hours.
If the liquid level gets below the bones add more water.
There will probably be some funky foamy stuff on the top. Just skim it off occasionally.
Step 3: Mirepoix
Step 4: Straining
Now you have chicken stock. Congratulations, you worked hard and it looks good.
We're not going for good chicken stock though, we're going for great chicken stock. You're not done.
Step 5: Reduce It
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