Drastic weather calls for drastic cooking. With the needle on the thermometer hovering between 0 and 25 degrees this past week, what other options are there then to empty your vegetable bin (of almost too old veggies) and make some stock? In my case, I also had half a rotisserie chicken breast carcass… so it was chicken stock for me.
I began by throwing the carcass in the pot — whole — meat and all and then covered it with water. I cranked up the heat to get it boiling and then I dragged out all the vegetables I had and started chopping. In went celery, carrots, yellow onion, fennel bulb, rainbow chard, leeks, fresh herbs (cilantro, sage, thyme and rosemary), a whole lemon (sliced), a few shallots and a handful of garlic cloves (for good measure).
I let this mixture simmer for a few hours. The smell was intoxicating… all those different onions, combined with the fat that had congealed at the bottom of the chicken container and the addition of the lemon created quite the fragrant stock.
As the vegetables continued to cook and as the meat began to fall off the bones, I kept stirring occasionally. Early taste tests indicated a very tasty result… perhaps my best stock ever.
Once the vegetables lost their vibrant hue and when the taste test revealed an amazing flavor, I used a bamboo skimmer to remove all the solids from the pot and transferred them to a large glass bowl. The end result was an aromatic, salty and slightly sour chicken broth. As I’d hoped, it was definitely my best broth to date. I think it was a blessing in disguise that I had so many vegetables on the verge of turning… I’m convinced the variety is what made this broth so superb.
I used the broth to make a lemon chicken noodle soup. I returned this broth to boiling and added in raw chopped celery, fennel, leeks, onion and a sweet potato (to counter the sour undertones from the lemon). I picked through the bowl of cooked parts and picked out the carrots and the garlic. I sliced the carrots and smashed the garlic and added them back in. I scrounged through the remaining pile and found all the breast meat that was left. I diced it and thew it in. I let this mixture simmer for another hour or two and then I coarsely chopped the solids using a handheld blender. Lastly, I threw in about a cup of small ring pasta and let is absorb the stock for about 30 minutes.
I don’t have a picture of the final product, but it was great. So good that the in addition to having it for dinner that first night, The Husband brought it for lunch every day until it was completely gone — a sure sign of a “keeper”…