Chicken Stock

We love soup, even in the summer, but especially in the fall and winter! A good soup with crusty home made wheat bread, YUM!

chicken broth

It’s amazing how many meals you can get off of a single chicken if you plan it right. Granted, it all depends on how big your family is and how big your boys kids are.  With our family of 4, I can generally get 3-4 meals off of a single chicken. Even when you’re baking a chicken you can take the bones and make stock from them after it’s been cooked and the meat removed!  I’ve tried this with turkey carcasses numerous times but I’m not a big fan of turkey stock.

I used to add my whole chicken to a pot and simmer it for a long time. When we run our wood stove in the winter I still do this in a great big stock pot with some onions, celery, carrots and herbs and the house smells simply divine. But in the summer, running the kitchen stove any longer than necessary isn’t exactly my idea of a cool time, and you can forget about the wood stove =)!

Many years ago I bought a huge pressure cooker specifically for canning. My Grandma had a smaller pressure cooker she rarely used and so I decided to give it a try for meals. It was love! I immediately went out and bought myself an 8 quart (2 gallon) size for regular means and we never looked back. Making super tender roasts in a hurry, pulled pork, soups, beans, the list is endless as to its uses!

Using the pressure cooker is my absolute favorite way to make chicken stock! At 15 lbs. of pressure it takes about 45 minutes to make gorgeous stock with every ounce of goodness from the bones removed and I have meat that falls right off the bone! For chicken pot pie, I simmer my gravy and ingredients, add my cooked shredded chicken at the end and it tastes as if it had simmered for hours to develop deep complex flavors! Truth is, I use the chicken broth to make my gravy, it’s like a 30 minute meal!  I wish the photo above captured the pure beauty and true yellow color of the stock in real life but I honestly don’t think it comes close.

I have made stock in a crock pot and electric dutch oven and it does an OK job but for speed, outstanding chicken flavor and ultimate tenderness and quantity, I really feel the pressure cooker gives me the absolute best stock!

Generally my meal uses the chicken meat in the first meal then I will put strain the  broth through a new milk filter (I have tried coffee filters, it’s an absolute mess waiting to happen)  into 1/2 gallon canning jars (I usually get 1+ gallons from the size of my pressure cooker) and put it in the fridge for use in a day or two. The fat floats to the top, I skim it off and I have virtually fat free broth to use to make outstanding soups!

If you have not tried a pressure cooker to make broth, you might like to try.  For that matter, if you haven’t tried a pressure cooker, it’s a kitchen tool I couldn’t be without!

Happy stocking! =)

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