Tuesday, February 19, 2013

No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock

Who else has been thinking that homemade chicken stock is just too big a production? Not me, not anymore. For a long while now, I've been making chicken stock one small batch at a time because, well, making stock should be No Big Deal. Until you taste it, that is – rich but delicate, thick as jelly, tasting like the real chicken it’s made with – that’s when you know for sure that homemade chicken stock is One Very Big Deal.

My favorite pot for No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock

So really, am I alone? Who else keeps a big stockpot in a cupboard in the kitchen? Who else KNOWS how to make a big batch of chicken stock but just doesn’t get around to it?

These days, in my kitchen, the big stockpot stays put even as I make a small batch of chicken stock (or beef stock or vegetable stock) nearly every day, no effort, no big production. It is, frankly, No Big Deal – except that an abundance of rich, flavorful chicken stock on hand for soups, sauces and stews is One Very Big Deal.

Two things make all the difference.

THE RIGHT POT, SMALL & HEAVY This is my most-used Christmas present ever! It’s a heavy LeCreuset saucepan. It doesn’t need a home in a cupboard because it never leaves the stove! Now this pot isn’t a “stockpot” per se but it’s just the right size for a chicken carcass and the right weight to hold even heat. This means I can set the stove just below medium and walk away, confident the stock will soon be gently simmering away with minimal evaporation. A couple of hours later? Gorgeous stock.

FYI LeCreuset no longer makes my beloved 2.5 quart saucepan but this 2.75 quart saucepan is a close match. Do know, these are heavy pots, mine weighs more than 7 pounds. They’re pricey too, so look for one in your cupboard that will work, move it to the stovetop for a trial run.

MASON JARS When I make a big batch of stock in the stockpot, I feel compelled to carefully strain the stock to transfer in two-cup portions to labeled freezer bags. It takes a good 20 to 30 minutes. With a small batch of No-Big-Deal Chicken Stock, I strain the stock right into quart-size canning jars, then store in the fridge. So easy! It takes just a minute or two. And no, it doesn’t last as long as frozen stock but that’s okay, I go through it fast. UPDATE: Now I freeze the stock, right in the jars. Just be sure to leave a little headroom for expansion.

FYI I love these one-piece canning lids for mason jars, no more fiddling around with lids and ring except for their intended purpose, real canning.

NO-BIG-DEAL BEEF STOCK Any time there’s leftover bits of beef or beef bones, just drop them into the saucepan with an onion, a carrot and a rib of celery. Follow the same process. Beef has a lot more fat, you’ll want to discard the thick layer that accumulates on top of the stock – or feed it to the birds!

NO-BIG-DEAL VEGETABLE STOCK Coming soon to A Veggie Venture!

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

NO-BIG-DEAL CHICKEN STOCK RECIPE

Hands-on time: 5 minutes to start, 5 minutes to finish
Time to table: 24 hours
Makes 4 cups
  • 1 rotisserie chicken carcass (wings, bones, skin, back plus juices from the container)
  • Water to cover

Place carcass in a small heavy saucepan and cover with water. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil. Adjust heat to maintain a slow simmer, let gently simmer for about 2 hours.

Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Place a small wire-mesh strainer into a funnel, place the funnel in a quart-size canning jar. Pour the stock through the strainer-funnel combination. Discard the bones and solids.

Refrigerate the stock. A thin layer of chicken fat will form on the top, discard this if you like. Use within a week.

ALANNA's TIPS A rotisserie chicken is one of my go-to Lean & Green meals for Medifast. (See Why I Switched from Weight Watchers to Medifast, as of yesterday, I'm down 27 pounds!) I keep the saucepan handy while cutting up and weighing the chicken for dinner, it’s easy to drop in any parts not being eaten. A rotisserie chicken makes excellent stock, all by itself. But I also use raw chicken with the same No-Big-Deal process. To use raw chicken pieces not being used for dinner, you may want to add a little chopped onion, carrot and celery to the saucepan. Learn your pot and your stove so that you can set the temperature once and then leave the stock be, without attention. Two hours isn’t necessary, some times I let the stock simmer for 3 hours, other times only an hour. Once I accidentally left the house; some hours later, the water had indeed mostly evaporated, leaving a luscious concentrated stock. I recommend this, just not without careful monitoring! While mostly I just refrigerate this stock, I do also occasionally freeze it right in a canning jar, it works fine. Just don’t fill the jar completely, leave room for the stock to expand while it freezes. I leave the thin layer of chicken fat that collects on top until it’s time to use the stock. The fat seems to extend the freshness in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks. If you don’t have time to make stock right away, freeze the carcass or chicken pieces until there’s time.
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup: 86 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 7mg Cholesterol; 343mg Sodium; 9g Carb; 0g Fiber; 4g Sugar; 6g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS WW Old Points 2, WW PointsPlus 2 CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving, 1cup+3T; 50-calorie serving, 9T. FYI I question this information which is based on the data for home-prepared chicken stock from the USDA. It’s not the calories I question so much as the fat and sodium. Still, I have no other way to calculate the information to share what there is. I do know that the stock tastes rich (so calories/fat may be okay) but it is does not taste salty at all.

No-Big-Deal Chicken Stock


No-Big-Deal Homemade Chicken Stock

So no more of that watery, salty stuff from cans and cubes, boxes and powders, okay? Choose Homemade Chicken Stock, because really, it’s just No-Big-Deal to make.


This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012

Chicken Cacciatore (<< personal favorite) Greek Feta Chicken Mushroom Soup Pork & Poblano Skillet Gashouse Eggs My Mom's Pancake Recipe Homemade Spaghetti Meat Sauce Sugar-Free Raspberry Bliss Orange-Kissed Marshmallows

This Week, Elsewhere

Porter Meatloaf from Six Row Brewing Company
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


Use Homemade Chicken Stock In These Recipes, Kick It Up a Few Notches

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Quick Broccoli Soup Chicken & Wild Rice Soup (Turkey & Wild Rice Soup) White Chicken Chili
~ more soup recipes ~





© Copyright 2013 Kitchen Parade



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hamburger Casserole:
Weeknight Comfort Food

One-skillet weeknight comfort food, "lightened up" and highly adaptable. Not a single can of mushroom soup in sight!

Hamburger Casserole ♥ KitchenParade.com, one-skillet weeknight comfort food, 'lightened up' and highly adaptable. Not a single can of mushroom soup in sight.

Okay, laugh. Even I think it's funny – albeit frustrating – that last week, I had two pounds of hamburger thawed for dinner and for the life of me, couldn't think what to make.

So there I am, the woman with endless recipe inspiration, my own, too-many cookbooks, a kazillion favorite blogs, the Whole Wide World of the World Wide Web, for goodness sake.

Talk about a rut. Burgers? It's winter. Meatloaf? Bor-ing. Meatballs? No, no, no, no, no, no.

My fancy-pants cookbooks failed to inspire. Why? Apparently hamburger has been replaced by short ribs and brisket.

A collection of church-style cookbooks from the 1980s failed me too, I'd thought they were a certain thing. Why? One recipe after another, sure, but one can of mushroom soup after another too.

ALANNA's TIPS Make this once, I think you (and even I) can just wing it the next time. The variations will be endless. Use ground turkey or bison or lamb instead of beef. Throw in a can of kidney beans or corn. Dice small pieces of carrot or turnip or mushroom, even a little eggplant. I was really tempted to throw in some tiny cubes of potato and sauerkraut, if so, I'd skip the macaroni entirely. What about tiny cubes of sweet potato? Again, skip the macaroni. (Poor macaroni.) The cumin seemed "just right" but other ideas come to mind, Italian seasoning, maybe with zucchini added. Why the cornmeal? I've started using it instead of flour as a thickener. Using buttermilk or Greek yogurt adds to the creaminess without going calorie-crazy with cheese. But I'd use more chicken broth as a substitute. About the macaroni, I used half what the inspiring recipe called for and wouldn't hesitate to use even half of that – that would be 1/4 pound versus a half pound.
Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail via recipes@kitchen-parade.com. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. Follow Kitchen Parade on Facebook!

HAMBURGER CASSEROLE RECIPE

Hands-on time: 30 minutes
Time to table: 50 minutes
Makes 10 cups
  • 1/2 pound macaroni
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (3 ounces) grated sharp cheddar
    FOR TOPPING
  • 1/4 cup grated sharp cheddar

Heat oven to 350F/175C.

Cook the macaroni in well-salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.

In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmery. Add the onion and green pepper as they are prepped, stirring to coat with fat. Add the meat and cumin, breaking meat into pieces with a spatula, and cook until all signs of pink has disappeared. Stir in the cornmeal and let cook for a minute. Stir in the tomatoes and let cook, stirring often, scraping up any brown bits from the pan.

Remove from heat, stir in the cooked macaroni, broth, buttermilk, parsley and salt and pepper. Taste it now, adjust seasonings. Stir in 1 cup cheddar.

Insert skillet into the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheddar over top and return to oven until cheese melts, under the broiler if you prefer.

MAKE AHEAD Cook and drain the macaroni, toss with a teaspoon of oil to prevent sticking. Cover and refrigerate. Cook the vegetables, meat and tomatoes; cover and refrigerate. Just before serving, combine macaroni, cooked meat-tomato mixture and remaining ingredients and place in a casserole dish or oven-safe skillet. Bake for 45 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle cheese over top and return to the oven until cheese melts.

NUTRITION ESTIMATE Per Cup: 302 Calories; 10g Tot Fat; 5g Sat Fat; 68mg Cholesterol; 225mg Sodium; 25g Carb; 3g Fiber; 3g Sugar; 27g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 6 & Points Plus 7 & SmartPoints 8. This recipe has been "Alanna-sized".
Adapted from Food & Wine.

This Week, Years Past 2002 - 2012

Lentil Soup Vincent Smashed Potatoes & Broccoli Trio of Vegetables with Sour Cream On-the-Run Breakfast Bars Black Walnut Bread One-Pot Chicken with Beans & Vegetables Julia Child's Soubise (Onion & Rice Casserole) (<< personal favorite) Chimichurri (<< rave reviews here!) Gumbo

This Week, Elsewhere

Mexican Tortilla Soup from City Coffeehouse & Creperie
~ more St. Louis Restaurant Recipes ~
My Column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch


More Ways to Use a Pound or Two of Hamburger

(hover for a description, click a photo for a recipe)
Plant Sale Soup Calico Beans Mini Porcupine Meatballs

Shop Your Pantry First

(helping home cooks save money on groceries)





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