Stocking Up

I love having home made chicken stock on hand. It has a depth of flavor that you just don’t get from the other stuff. Although I do use the “Better than Bouillon” stock when I don’t have time to make my own, I’d always rather use home made. There are many different ways to make stock, from the easy, throw everything in a pot and let it simmer, to Helen Rennie’s deliciously reduced Brown Chicken Stock which I love to make when I have lots of time.

But while I’m on my pressure cooker kick, I made a version of America’s Test Kitchen’s pressure cooker stock, with a few modifications of course, because I can’t help myself. Whenever I make a recipe that calls for a whole chicken, cut up, I cut the chicken myself and save the neck, wings, back (cut in half), and innards (minus the liver, which would make the stock cloudy) in the freezer. Then, when I have time to make stock, I have everything I need. I also keep and freeze the bones from roasted chicken – that makes a fantastic stock.

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Mise en place for stock: frozen chicken parts, aromatics, bay leaves, parsley, and black peppercorns

Using the pressure cooker is fairly quick and easy, with only a couple more steps than your standard throw everything in a pot method. By browning some of the ingredients first, and using the pressure cooker, you can extract even more flavor from the bones and you end up with a fantastic, rich stock.

Once you brown the chicken parts and veggies, you just add the rest of the ingredients, and water. Then you just bring the pressure cooker up to temp, lower, and let it do its thing for an hour.

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I have a Fagor pressure cooker. The little yellow button pops up when it’s up to pressure. It’s super easy to use – not scary at all!

The result is a beautiful rich dark stock. I let it cool for a while, then refrigerate overnight so that the fat solidifies into a single layer on top that’s easy to skim off. You can also skim the fat off before refrigerating, but it’s much easier to do once it’s solid. Then just put into jars and freeze for later. You can also freeze in an ice cube tray, but I find that I normally need at least one cup of stock, so I usually use mason jars.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock
Makes about 3 quarts
Prep time: 5 minutes  Active cook time: 15 minutes  Inactive cook time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (backs, wings, gizzards, hearts)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, cut into large chunks
  • 1 rib celery, cut into large chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed, skins discarded
  • 3 quarts water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3-4 sprigs parsley
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns

Directions:
Heat the oil in a (non-electric) pressure-cooker pot over medium-high heat until smoking. Brown half of the chicken on all sides, about 6 minutes; transfer to plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken; transfer to bowl.

Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat left in the pot, add onion, carrot, and celery, and cook over medium heat until softened and well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in some of the water and scrape up any browned bits remaining on the bottom of the pot. Stir in remaining water, salt, bay leaves, parsley, peppercorns, and browned chicken with any accumulated juices.

Lock the pressure-cooker lid in place and bring to high pressure over medium-high heat. As soon as the pot reaches high pressure, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 1 hour, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain high pressure.

Remove the pot from heat. Quick release the pressure by turning the steam release valve to the left, or running under cold water till the yellow button indicates the pressure has been released, then remove lid.

Using tongs, fish out the large chunks of chicken and vegetables and discard. Then strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Discard any remaining solids. Allow to cool, and then refrigerate overnight, or for a few hours until the layer of fat has turned solid. Using large spoon or skimmer, remove the excess fat from the surface of the broth. (Broth can be refrigerated for up to 2 days, or frozen for several months.)
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  1. Pingback: Chicken Stock – Dinner with the Rents

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