In Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, Michael Ruhlman says:
Stock is the single preparation that might elevate a home cook’s food from decent to spectacular.
I absolutely agree. Stock is flavor, pulled out of leftover bones and meat. With homemade stock, I can make rich and silky pan sauces, gravy with depth, and stews with body. And, of course, soup. The best way to make soup – the *only* way to make soup, in my opinion – is by starting with stock.
When I make chicken stock, I use my pressure cooker. Pressure cooker stock is quick…relatively speaing; it takes a few hours, instead of all day. I make chicken stock while I’m cleaning up after a roast chicken dinner. Everything goes in the pot, I fire it up, and then I finish cleaning the kitchen. About an hour later, the stock is done cooking, ready to be strained and refrigerated.
Chicken stock seems like culinary magic. You take scraps – chicken pieces that you can’t even eat as leftovers, some vegetables, some water – and turn them into culinary gold. Make your own chicken stock – you’ll never go back to the insipid stuff in the can.
Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock from leftover pieces – backs, wings, necks, or the bones from roast chicken.
- 3 pounds chicken bones w/ clinging meat (I use a gallon zip-top bag full of frozen chicken backs, wingtips, and other trimmings, or the carcasses from two roast chickens)
- 2 medium onions, ends trimmed and halved
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 celery rib, cut in half (optional)
- 1 large carrot, scrubbed and cut in half (optional)
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed, with peels (optional)
- 2 quarts of water, or just enough to cover the ingredients (or go to the max fill line on your pressure cooker.)
- Fill the pressure cooker: Put all the ingredients in your pressure cooker, and add water to cover.
- Pressure cook the stock: Lock the lid of the pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 55 minutes in an electric pressure cooker (or 45 minutes in a stovetop PC). Remove the pot from the heat and let the pressure come down naturally, about 30 minutes.
- Strain the stock: Scoop out the bones with a slotted spoon, then strain the stock into another pot through a fine mesh strainer.
- De-fat the stock: (Optional) Refrigerate the stock overnight, or up to 2 days, so the fat floats to the surface and forms a hard cap. Scrape the fat cap from the top of the stock with a slotted spoon.
- Use or freeze the stock: Use the stock immediately, or freeze for later use. I portion the stock into 2 cup containers and freeze for later use.
As I mention in the ingredients, I have a few different ways I get the chicken bones for the stock:
- After a roast chicken dinner, I can make stock right away. I carve the meat off the bones, serve dinner, and then make stock with the carcasses.
- I keep a gallon zip-top bag of chicken trimmings in the freezer. Leftover bones and trimmings are added to the bag. When the bag is full, it’s time to make a batch of stock. Trimmings make great stock; chicken backs, wings or wingtips, rib bones from breasts…all add a lot of collagen to the stock.
- If I’m out of trimmings and desperate for stock, I buy frozen chicken backs from my local grocery store. They’re cheap and do the job just fine.
What do you think?
Questions? Comments? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes
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