Double Chicken Stock / Poultry Stock

by Wednesday, December 09, 2015
You could do this with just chicken and call it "chicken stock", but I had a large turkey this year for Thanksgiving, which means lots of awesome turkey bones and bits and bobs, but I also have a freezer bag full of chicken parts from the past couple months which I wanted to make use of. So it's a mix of turkey and chicken parts for the first stage.

I think the magic in getting my lovely gelatinous results this time had to do with the meat-to-water ratio. I think I just was adding too much water in the past. I have since heard the suggestion in multiple places to make sure you have a quart of water per pound of poultry. So for a typical 10 quart stock pot, keep that in mind, and load it up well with the poultry and then add water around it only as much as necessary. As it boils off, you can add hot water from an electric kettle to keep everything under water without diluting it too much further. The meat and veggies themselves release moisture as they release flavor, and we are keeping this at a very very bare simmer rather than a boil, so we're not losing a ton of volume of liquids throughout the process to evaporation in my experience.

Some people do this in a crock pot with a cover on it, which is an option as well. It keeps a nice consistent temp, and with the lid it limits evaporation. 10 hours on low if that's your speed... Now on to my recent success!


Ingredients
Turkey carcass, cooked and stripped of most of the meat
Leftover cooked turkey parts (I put in wings meat and skin and all)
Uncooked turkey and chicken backs and necks (frozen and kept until being used)
1 or 2 carrots as you like, cut into big chunks
3 stalks celery, cut into big chunks
1 yellow onion, cut into big chunks (sensing a theme?) AND/OR
1 large leek, green parts and all (see note in step 2)
3-4 garlic cloves (chop roughly, or just smash--you can throw the skins in, too if you want)
A pinch of whole peppercorns
Fresh herbs of choice (I had thyme and marjoram from my garden)

  1. Throw poultry parts in to a big stock pot and cover with water. Set over high heat to start to boil.
  2. Meanwhile, chop all veggies, throwing them in as you finish.  For leek, slice down center and pry apart to rinse well, then (you guessed it) cut into big chunks. Toss in herbs. Add more water to cover if needed.
  3. When water begins to boil, turn down to medium-low or low, so you have the barest simmer. You don't want to agitate the ingredients any more than necessary. Just a teensy bit of bubbling on the surface is needed.
  4. You can skim the scum if you like throughout the cooking process, but I never do and even The Food Lab at Serious Eats has done testing to prove it doesn't really do anything to make your stock any clearer or purer. So it's up to you. 
  5. Simmer for 6-8 hours uncovered. I start mine before lunch and sometime after dinner I do the rest of the steps. I have done it as long as 12-18 hours, with good flavorful results. You can go 24 if you want, it's not unheard of. The longer you go the more you will be sure to have extracted all the gelatin from the bones, and the flavor isn't going to escape out the back door, so don't hesitate to go as long as you like/need. 
  6. Take two fine mesh strainers, put a layer of paper towel or cheesecloth between and nest them one inside the other. With gloves to protect your hands from hot splashing, carefully pour through strainer into another large pot. Your stock will be beautifully free of random bits, creamy yellow.
  7. Here is where Alton or any professional would tell you that you must rapidly cool the broth. Never put a hot pot of anything directly into the fridge as it will warm up your fridge to potentially dangerous levels. Some people nestle their strained stock bowl/pot into a sink full of ice. Alton also takes partially filled, frozen bottles of water and drop them into the hot stock and put them in a cooler full of ice. Be grossed out if you must, but I let mine cool on the counter for a while and then put it in the fridge. It was good enough for my grandma, it's good enough for me. So far I haven't died. *fingers crossed*
  8. Move to fridge then let cool overnight. Using a spatula or thin-edged ladle or spoon, skim the fat off the surface. You can reserve this for other cooking purposes (freeze in ice cube trays, then melt over rice dishes, pastas, etc for a punch of creamy fatty chickeny goodness)
At this point I had a delightfully gelatinous concoction. Over at the James Beard Foundation, they had a simple recipe to just poach a chicken/hen in this and then restrain, skim, cool, and store. I opted to do that, but also all the other steps all over again. So what I did was:

Double Stock Recipe
  1. Put cooled and skimmed stock back into stock pot on stove over high heat 
  2. Put a steamer basket over this and place whole 4lb chicken on this
  3. Pour in water to cover
  4. Chop all veggies as above, nestle with herbs around chicken and add any more water needed to be sure all is under water
  5. Bring to a boil, then again turn down to a bare simmer. Skim if you like as you go along
  6. 1.5-2 hours or until chicken is cooked through, lift steamer basket with chicken in it from the stock and set aside. Serve poached, or let cool until you can touch it then pull meat from bones and store for use in a future recipe.
    6b. Yes you can potentially throw these bones into a future stock. Since you cooked them for a shorter time (~2 hours), there is possibly some collagen still left to extract. Try snapping a bone. If it snaps easily it has given up all it can so just discard them. If it is still hard or bends easily, then there is more life in them bones! Freeze and save for another stock making day.
  7. Strain stock as above, cool before putting in fridge as above, skim fat, etc... and voila! A double stock to call your own!
Edited to add: if you wanna get really fancy, you can make chicken consomme, which is even MORE reduced, purified, and perfected. Here is a link directly to the James Beard recipe for taking your double stock to the next level.

Yummy Meatloaf!

by Saturday, November 28, 2015
In my world, meatloaf is the thing you make with leftover ingredients. It's quick, simple, and hearty. A weeknight meal. Well Kenji at Serious Eats elevates it in his recipe for "All American Meatloaf", done with his usual scientific method of trying to find the perfect balance of ingredients. However, it goes against what made meatloaf a popular American dish, as I described above--namely quick and using humble ingredients.

Instead of following his recipe to the letter (no, I don't keep anchovies, Marmite, and gelatin around the house regularly), I used it as a jumping-off point for my own concoction using what I had available. More specifically I wanted to see if using fish sauce in my mix, as suggested in my favorite Ultimate Umami Burger recipe over at White on Rice Couple, would boost the umami in my meatloaf. I subbed all the Serious Eats umami suggestions (anchovies, Marmite, and soy sauce) with 3 teaspoons of fish sauce. I skipped mushrooms, used old sourdough bread for my breadcrumbs, cream instead of buttermilk, and as is our tradition we used hot Italian sausage for our pork component because it just tastes so damn good.

What we were left with bears little resemblance to Kenji's recipe, to be fair. However, using his methods and ingredients as a jumping-off point, I feel I stayed true to the real American meatloaf tradition of using what you have on hand and getting a delicious result. And we achieved that, by gum! We both agreed it was the best meatloaf we had ever made/had at home. So, success!

Da Meatloaf:
  • 1/4 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 Tbsp cream
  • 2 slices white bread (sourdough), crusts removed and torn into rough pieces
  • 3 teaspoons fish sauce (could use Worcestershire sauce, soy, whatever you have)
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 small onion, roughly choppe
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 lb hot Italian sausage
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 oz cheddar + 1 oz parmesan, finely grated (about 1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup finely minced fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
Da Glaze:
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 mustard (we use yellow or dijon)
Da Steps:
  1. Place the bread in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Add fish sauce and garlic to the processor bowl and pulse until reduced to a fine paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and pulse until finely chopped but not pureed.
  3. Heat the butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until foaming. Add the chopped vegetable mixture and cook, stirring and tossing frequently, until it is softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes; the mixture should start to darken a bit. 
  4. Stir in the cream and chicken stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the mushrooms and bread, stir thoroughly to combine, and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add the ground meat to the bowl, along with the eggs, cheese, parsley, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. With clean hands, mix gently until everything is thoroughly combined and homogeneous; it will be fairly loose.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan, being sure that no air bubbles get trapped underneath. (You may have some extra mix, depending on the capacity of your pan; this can be cooked in a ramekin or free-form next to the loaf.) Tear off a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil large enough to line a rimmed baking sheet and cover the meatloaf. Refrigerate the meatloaf while the oven preheats. (The meatloaf can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
  7. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 350°F. When the oven is hot, remove the meatloaf from the refrigerator and, without removing the foil cover, carefully invert it onto the rimmed baking sheet. Loosen the foil and spread it out, leaving the pan on top of the meatloaf. Fold up the edges of the foil to trap the liquid that escapes from the meatloaf while baking. Bake until just beginning to set, about 30 minutes.
  8. Use a butter knife tip or spatula to lift an edge of the inverted loaf pan, jiggling it until it slides off the meatloaf easily, and use oven mitts or a folded kitchen towel to remove the pan, leaving the meatloaf on the center of the foil. Return to the oven and bake until the center of the meatloaf registers 140°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 40 minutes longer. There will be quite a bit of exuded juices; this is OK. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 500°F.
  9. Meanwhile, Make the Glaze: Combine the ketchup, mustard, and pepper in a small ramekin or bowl.
  10. Use a brush to apply some glaze to the meatloaf in a thin, even layer, then return it to the oven and bake for 3 minutes. Glaze again and bake for 3 minutes longer. Glaze one more time and bake until the glaze is beginning to bubble and is a deep burnished brown, about 4 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
    NOTE: This step with the very hot oven will generate a good amount of smoke as the juices on the pan are cooked at high temps. You have been warned.

    Serve this miraculously delicious meatloaf and smile with self-satisfaction. We went back for seconds...and a little bit of thirds. It's a loose loaf without a) the gelatin to create more binding action and b) our own home-ground meat with a finer grind than the grocery store tends to offer. So it won't be great for sandwiches if that's your thing. You'll want to remedy that in your version if so. But for us, we tend to eat it heated on a plate with a side of potato chips for lunch, or just pick it apart cold as occasional snacks from the open fridge, so this works just fine for us!

Slow Braised Kahlua Pork Shoulder

by Monday, January 26, 2015
 I wanted to try a new preparation of pork shoulder, since I have been in a (delightful, delicious) rut with Mexican Pulled Pork. No complaints, honestly, as hubby and I not only gorge on it the night we make it, but eat it cold as a snack and reheated in various forms throughout the week. But my recipe is an 8-10 hour slow cooker recipe, which is stupid-simple, but not great when it's 4pm and I'm like "Oh no! I am eating out the next three nights and I have 4 pounds of pork in my fridge!"

So the following is what I came up with. It is an amalgam of several other recipes and let me tell you: YUM! We chose to have it with mashed potatoes, which isn't very inspired, but we have 3lbs of golden potatoes we need to eat up before they go bad (got 'em on sale) so it seemed a good idea. I made other suggestions in the recipe for what I would do if I had shopped for the purpose.

 Slow Braised Kahlua Pork Shoulder
4-5 lb Pork Shoulder
7 cloves garlic (3 sliced, 4 smashed)
Hawaiian sea salt
Pepper
1/2 large onion, chopped
Optional: one 3" piece of fresh ginger, minced
1 cup pineapple juice
2 cups chicken broth
Optional: one 3" piece of fresh ginger, grated
Canola oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees

Pour a couple Tablespoons of canola oil into a large dutch oven over medium high heat.

Cut pork shoulder into 4-5 pieces. Poke holes in pork and poke the sliced garlic pieces into the holes.

Generously coat all meat pieces with the Hawaiian sea salt and a bit of pepper. Sear all sides of the meat, then remove to a plate.

Turn stove down to medium, add a couple more Tablespoons of canola oil to hot dutch oven, toss in chopped onion, smashed garlic cloves, and ginger (if using) and cook for 5-7 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add pineapple juice and chicken broth and heat through. Add pork back to dutch over, cover and place in oven.

Cook for 2 1/2 hours until pork is fork tender.

Remove pork to a large plate or bowl, shred with two forks.

Optional Step: Put shredded pork on foil-lined baking sheet and return to oven. Put on broil and crisp pork, turning every 7 minutes or so to crisp up more pieces to your liking. Try not to overcook and dry it out, just crisp some edges for exceptionally yummy crunch.

Another Optional Step: Take some braising liquid from the pan and reduce with a little butter (and a little brown sugar if you want a little more sweetness) in a pan to make a sauce for the meat.

Serve over mashed sweet potatoes or parsnips, brown rice, shredded cabbage salad, or polenta. You could also make a sandwich, putting the pulled pork on a hoagie roll or, for "authenticity" on King's Hawaiian Bread!


Amish Cinnamon Bread

by Thursday, January 15, 2015
Gotta make this!

Amish Cinnamon Bread
No kneading, you just mix it up and bake it
Batter:
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk or 2 cups milk plus 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda

Cinnamon/sugar mixture:
2/3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Directions
Cream together butter, 2 cups of sugar, and eggs. Add milk, flour, and baking soda. Put 1/2 of batter (or a little less) into greased loaf pans (1/4 in each pan). Mix in separate bowl the 2/3 c sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle 3/4 of cinnamon mixture on top of the 1/2 batter in each pan. Add remaining batter to pans; sprinkle with last of cinnamon topping. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 min. or until toothpick tester come clean.
Cool in pan for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

Almond Crusted Chicken with Blue Cheese, Bacon, Mushroom Stuffing

by Wednesday, January 14, 2015

We did this two ways--stuffed and topped--to see which we liked best. WE LIKED BOTH! So I will offer both options below:

Almond Crusted Chicken with Blue Cheese, Bacon, & Mushroom (Stuffing)

Crusted Chicken:
2 Chicken breasts
1/4 cup almonds, lightly crushed
Herbs of choice (I used mainly thyme and a punch of cumin)
Salt & pepper
1 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp dijon mustard


Sauce/Stuffing :
3 pieces of bacon (or 4!)
1 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, remove stems and slice
1 small shallot, finely diced
2 Tbsp Blue cheese (or more if you like!)
1/2 cup cream (optional, if making sauce instead of stuffing)

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Line baking sheet with foil, lay out bacon and bake for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through, until crispy. Remove to paper towel.
  3. Add butter to pan over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms and wilt. Add shallots, some salt and pepper to taste, and cook until shallots are transparent. Remove to bowl.
  4. When bacon is cool enough to handle, break or chop into small pieces, add to bowl with mushrooms and shallots. Add blue cheese and mix lightly with fingers.
  5. IF STUFFING, slice a pocket into the breast and use fingers to gently widen the interior without making the entry hole too large (keeps the ingredients from spilling out during cooking). Take 1/2 of the blue cheese/bacon/shallot/mushroom mix and stuff into the pocket, press opening closed as best you can.
    IF COATING, leave chicken intact and move on to step 6
  6. Mix herbs, some salt and pepper to taste, coat chicken breasts with herbs
  7. Mix together honey and dijon, coat herbed chicken breasts 
  8. Roll each breast in crushed almonds. Place crusted breasts on the same foil-lined sheet you cooked your bacon on (should have bacon fats/oils still on it)
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until internal temp is to your liking (I am a 165 girl, public health will tell you otherwise, but I'm a rebel like that). 
  10. IF YOU DID NOT STUFF, add 1/4 cup cream to pan and heat over medium-low to reduce by half. Add blue cheese/bacon/shallot/mushroom mix to reduced cream and heat through, stirring until blue cheese melts completely.
  11. Let chicken rest about 5 minutes before serving. 
  12. NOTE: If you made a sauce, I recommend putting it in a little pool on the plate and then placing the chicken breast on top of the sauce. It's a slightly more elegant presentation, IMO, than a lumpy sauce poured over the top, obscuring the lovely browned almond crust.


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