Passion Project: Introduction and Homemade Chicken Stock!

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I should probably preface this post by making it clear once and for all that I really love meat! Surprising, I know, considering that only 5 recipes, out of the 90+ I have up on my blog, feature meat. Breaking news, I’m not a vegetarian by choice! Anyone who knows me is well aware that I can’t say no to a juicy piece of steak, a fork-tender leg of lamb, or a perfectly roasted chicken.

So why haven’t I explored the animal-protein world at all, you ask? Well, I simply don’t even know where to begin… Since I’ve never properly learned how to cook fish or meat, I just don’t buy it. I usually steer clear from the grocery store’s meat aisle and stay within the realm of the safe, well-known, vegetables section. Now that used to be fine. Since I moved to the US, I have lived well on a pseudo vegetarian diet and learned how to cook truly satisfying plant-based meals. Unfortunately, it does get slightly dull in the long run. Though vegetarian cooking possibilities are endless, I still feel like my actual menu options are restricted. Put short, my inner meat lover has been frustrated for too long! I therefore decided to change this and I am determined to learn how to cook more than veggies! Luckily, I was selected by my school to be a part of the “Passion Projects”! The “Passion Projects” team is a group of students willing to pursue their passion (unrelated to work), and awarded a grant by our school to do so. I therefore applied with the aim to learn how to cook meat, fish or shellfish, and will be taking classes over the semester to gain that knowledge. I will then report all my findings/experiments/lessons on my blog so that you can all hopefully learn to be better cooks with me.

For this first week, I started nice and “easy” with chicken. Chicken is such a versatile product! If you think about it, you can make so many different recipes from a single bird. I find that so exciting! It’s also a “college-friendly” thing to cook: not too pricey, widely available and quick to prepare. This past Friday, I therefore went to the market to buy a full free-range bird (my first purchase of that kind!). When I got back home, I followed my cooking classes’ instructions on how to break it down into 6 pieces (here‘s another good tutorial on how to do it!) and proceeded to make chicken stock with the carcass. Nothing goes to waste in my kitchen! Here’s what it looked like after a few hours! Can you smell the deliciousness?

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This post therefore marks the beginning of my “chicken week”. I will share one recipe per day, using every part of the whole bird. Think of it as a “biggest bang for your chicken” kind of deal. Today, we’re starting with the carcass and wings to make one of the most important kitchen staple there is. Homemade chicken broth is much more flavorful than the packaged kind, and it can come in handy for so many recipes. Stay tuned because tomorrow’s recipe will feature this delicious broth! So next time you’re at the grocery store, ditch the pre-packaged six-pack of boneless/skinless breasts (which all come from different birds by the way… yikes) and opt for the real, much fresher, full deal. Over the week, I will show you how to make completely different meals from a single bird. The recipes I have in store for you will all approach a different cut with a different cooking technique. Talk about variety! Now let’s dig in!

Bon appétit!


Total time: 3 hours (but only 20 minutes in the kitchen!)

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken carcass
  • 2 chicken wings
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 rosemary sprigs
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 small bunch parsley
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • cold water

Directions:

  1. Rinse the carrots and celery, and cut them in half. Cut the onion in quarters, skin-on.
  2. Heat some olive oil in a large pot, add the carrots and onions with some salt and pepper. Let the veggies soften a bit, but not brown.
  3. Next, add the chicken carcass and wings. Toss around to coat it with the oil and cover with water (about 2in above).
  4. Add the herbs. You can tie them all in a cheese cloth to make a “bouquet garni”, which is easier to remove later on, or you can just throw them in. Also add the smashed garlic cloves.
  5. Bring to a simmer, cover, and let it cook for about 2:30-3hrs. The flavors will slowly develop and infuse the broth, and your whole house will smell amazing!
  6. When the stock has reduced, strain it with a sieve (or chinois). You want a clear broth without bits and pieces (but KEEP the shredded, flavorful meat for soup, a sandwich or chicken salad!). Let it cool down at room temperature. A thin coat of fat may solidify on the surface. Delicately remove it with a spatula/spoon. Enjoy it as is, as a base for a soup, in risotto, sauces and so on!

TIP: I usually keep some of it handy in the fridge, and freeze the rest in portionned containers. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays if you want tiny portion on the go to add to sauces and such! 

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Temps Total: 3 heures (mais seulement 20 minutes dans la cuisine!)

Ingrédients

  • 1 carcasse de poulet
  • 2 ailes de poulet
  • 1 oignon
  • 2 carottes
  • 2 brins de céleri
  • 4 feuilles de laurier
  • 2 brins de romarin
  • 4 brins de thym
  • 1/2 petite botte de persil
  • 2 gousses d’ail
  • huile d’olive
  • sel et poivre
  • eau froide

Étapes:

  1. Rincez les carottes et le céleri et coupez les en deux. Coupez l’oignon en quarts, avec la peau.
  2. Faites chauffer de l’huile d’olive dans une grande casserole, ajoutez les carottes et l’oignon. Assaisonnez de sel et de poivre et laissez le tout suer quelques minutes, sans brunir.
  3. Ensuite, ajoutez la carcasse de poulet et les ailes, mélangez le tout pour enduire le poulet d’huile et recouvrez le tout d’eau froide (2cm de plus).
  4. Ajoutez les herbes fraiches attachées en “bouquet garni”, ou comme telles et les gousses d’ail écrasées.
  5. Faites chauffer l’eau jusqu’au frémissement, couvrez, et laissez cuire pendant 2:30-3 heures environ. Les saveurs vont alors lentement se développer et infuser le bouillon. Votre maison toute entière en sera parfumée!
  6. Quand le bouillon a réduit, passez le au tamis (ou chinois) pour ne retenir que le liquide (mais GARDEZ la viande effilochée et pleine de saveur pour une soupe, un sandwich, ou une salade). Laissez refroidir à température ambiante. Une pellicule de gras peut alors remonter à la surface et solidifier. Enlevez la délicatement avec une spatule/cuillère. Dégustez ce bouillon comme tel, dans des soupes, des risottos, des sauces et tant d’autres!

LE PLUS: Je garde toujours un peu de bouillon dans mon réfrigérateur, et congèle le reste dans des portions séparées. Vous pouvez aussi le congeler dans des moules à glaçons de façon à pouvoir ajouter des petites portions dans des sauces ou autres!

 

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