Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stock: Chicken and Mushroom

Mushroom stock
I've been a little stressed lately.  I am a person who needs a plan, the plan can change, but it needs to be in place.  I have been living on hold, without a plan.  I hate that (and so does anyone who is around me).

About a month ago, I was offered a new job.  It is with a new employer.  Not a big deal for many of you, but I have worked for the same employer for the last 29 years.  I was a teacher, a principal, and a program coordinator for the same school district.  And now, I was offered a job with the University of Alaska K-12 outreach program for their Alaska Teacher Placement center.  I told them what I wanted in order to move, and they offered it to me!  I will be "retiring" from the school district and moving across town to the University of Alaska. I start October 4, I am very excited.

But between the time I told them what I wanted and the time they offered it to me, I have been a nervous mess.  What do I do when I am nervous?  I cook, I bake, I make stock!
1 cup containers

The nice thing about stock, is it really takes minimal effort, and you get a lot of production.  And, because I was more than a little nervous, I made two kinds of stock; chicken and mushroom.  Having homemade, frozen stock on hand is like having a golden treasure in the freezer.  Soup takes on a whole new flavor, risotto is even more of a treat, and gravy is richer and more delicious.
3 cup containers for soup and risotto

There are a million ways to make stock, don't get hung up about having the "right" ingredients.  If you googled chicken stock you will come up with 100 million ways to make it.  Chicken, onions, salt and pepper can make a basic chicken stock.  Add carrots and celery, a little thyme and it is even better.  For mushroom stock replace the chicken with mushrooms and add a little marsala or bandy to the veggie sweat and you are in business.  So, here are the recipes I use.  Make some stock, I'll bet you never use store bought again.

Chicken Stock
3 3-5 lb. whole chickens
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 onions, roughly chopped
6 carrots, roughly chopped
6 celery ribs, roughly chopped
Big bunch of thyme
1 garlic head, unpeeled, top 1/3 cut off
2 Tbsp. salt
2 tsp. pepper
8 quarts water

In a 20 quart stockpot, over med. low heat, add olive oil, onions, carrots, and celery.  Cook until soft and fragrant, about 8-10 minutes.  Add 8 quarts of water, chickens, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 4 hours, skimming foam as needed. Strain entire contents of pot through cheesecloth, discard solids (I save the chicken meat for the dogs, but it really is used up so you just toss).  Refrigerate overnight.  Remove fat from top of broth, discard or use for another purpose.  Place in freezer containers, leaving some headroom for expansion as it freezes.

Mushroom stock
adapted from Food and Wine Magazine

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound mushrooms, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 celery rib, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 thyme sprig
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 cup Marsala or brandy
2 quarts water

In a pot, heat the oil. Add the mushrooms, onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, rosemary, bay leaf and peppercorns and cook over high heat until the vegetables are softened, 15 minutes. Add the Marsala and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until reduced to 6 cups, 2 hours. Strain the stock, pressing down on the solids.
September 25, 2013  Daylight 11 hrs. 55 min. 18 sec.   Temp H 43/ L 28°F

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