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Chicken Stock... some call it Broth

Contributed by: Cajun Clark

Regardless of what you call it, broth or stock, many recipes, as you know, call for this ingredient. Now here's the deal: you can buy it as a liquid in a can, as a granulated powder, compressed into a cube, or, you can make your own. And that's what this column is all about. So, follow along, have a chuckle, and remember not to throw out your next turkey carcass, 'cause this step-by-step recipe works with that fowl, too. Now, let's make some chicken stock.

Cajun Clark's Cookbook
First, y'all go out to the chicken house and grab that ornery old hen, the one you can't stand, the one that pecked you for the umpteenth time this morning when you went out to get the eggs for breakfast--that one. Oops, sorry, da ol' mon Caj forgot where he was for a moment, got lost in his reveries. Let's see...okay, I got it.

First, the next time you go to the market, BUY a whole chicken or thighs and legs, or whatever you want. But remember, you don't need to use expensive cuts when you're making stock. Actually, you're making more than broth, but we'll get to that a little later in this how-to.

Second, when you get home pull out your big stock pot; that's the 8-quart minimum job. WASH the chicken real good; THEN unceremoniously dump it in the pot.

Third, ADD water. How much? Depends...How much chicken do you have in the pot? How large is your pot? How much stock do you want to make? These are those imponderables. But if you're like da ol' mon Caj, you'll probably come close to An Inch From the Top. Just make sure you have enough water to cover the bird.

Fourth, ADD seasoning. Some folks add salt and pepper to taste, while others will enhance their broth with onion powder, and still others will make sure to toss in some garlic cloves, powder or granules. Yep, you guessed it, you decide what to add for seasoning.

Fifth, BRING to a boil, turn down heat. SIMMER for several hours, usually until the chicken is falling off the bone, coming apart. And, some folks cover the pot while others don't; again, you decide.

Sixth, when it's done, DIG out all the pieces and parts of chicken that you can find. THEN, once it's cooled some strain the stock through a colander to capture any small pieces of bone, fat or meat left behind.

Seventh, dump your broth back into the pot or other container(s) and REFRIGERATE. Once your stock has cooled sufficiently, you can take it out of the fridge and remove the congealed fat from the top. What you do with the fat is up to you.

Eighth, while your stock is cooling, take the chicken meat and either get it ready to store, or use it in one of your favorite recipes for dinner. Like chicken pot pie, chicken and pasta, chicken salad, you get the idea.

Ninth, either freeze or can your stock and store. It should be noted that this broth is usually thicker and much richer than what you buy, so you may want to dilute it with water before storing. Or decrease the amount, say 1 cup instead of 2 cups, then you can dilute it when you need t/ use it. Again, the decision is yours.

Tenth, and fina,ly (bet you thought we'd never get here), when some folks make stock they don't stop with the chicken and seasonings, even though this is the easiest and quickest way. For example, you'll find recipes for broth that call for chopped or diced celery, carrots, bell pepper, onion, you name it; and there's nothing wrong with making it this way. Yep, once again you guessed it, the decision is yours.

There's one other point that should be made: Caj's Mother knew how to make stock, whether it was chicken or turkey; she didn't need a recipe. It's another one of those things-you-just-know.

Cajun Clark's Selected Freebies
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Cajun Clark's monster 659-page eCookbook is no longer available. His second cookbook in the series, with nearly 500 recipes is Sweet & Sassy! http://www.cajunclarkssweetandsassy.com You can grab a copy of Cajun Clark's Selected Freebies at http://www.1001Recipes2Send.com/Free/
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