cheshireherald.com – Toothsome: Chicken Stock = Liquid Gold – Cheshire Herald

Hello, and Happy Spring to all! I know it’s a tad early to be shouting that locution from the rooftop, but despite the groundhog’s findings a few weeks back, Spring is definitely in the air … she said, dusting the snow off her coat. And, February is a short month, so ignoring the many squalls of last Saturday, Springtime, I have faith, is even closer than we think. Le Printemps! La Primavera! In any case, it certainly feels like the right time to change up our cooking. What with precious daylight lasting longer, the sunshine becoming a bit brighter, Snowdrops sprouting up around the garden, and colorful shirts and sweaters emerging from our closets, it seems to me the stews and braises of deep winter can be moved to the proverbial back burner. But don’t put away the slow-cooker just yet. 

One kitchen staple that has become indispensable for me over the past several years is chicken stock. While there is no shortage of ready-made, canned and boxed varieties at the supermarket, several of which are quite tasty, the depth and vibrancy of flavor in a homemade batch is literal joie de vivre! Extraordinarily simple to make, its uses are myriad. Plus, it has a fix-it-and-forget-it kind of vibe, letting the slow-cooker do the heavy lifting. Throw in the ingredients, set it on low for several hours, go to work (or to bed, if you start it in the evening), and your home will smell like a Parisian bistro opened a pop-up in your kitchen. 

Bright, herby soups with citrusy zip, “green” risotto (think asparagus and parsley), fava beans, mustard greens, or simply warmed up for sipping from a mug, homespun stock is culinary gold.  I hope you’ll agree.

And while the reality is, we live in New England, so by the time this column goes to print and reaches you, we could be back to sub-arctic temps and ice-dams under the eaves, but there is just as likely a chance we’ll be digging out the bocce ball set and cornhole. Because: Spring!

Be well, and keep on cooking.                                                                                    -HK

Chicken Stock

(adapted from Deb Perelman’s Perfect, Uncluttered Broth)

ingredients

-3.5 pounds chicken wings or drumsticks

-3-3 1/4 quarts water

-1 large onion, cut in half through root end

-1-2 garlic cloves, smashed

-Pinch of Kosher salt

instructions

Place all ingredients in slow-cooker. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.

When finished, strain and use right away, or store in fridge until ready to use. After chilling, if the stock is jelly-like, congratulations: the collagen is the jackpot!! Just reheat. And if you prefer, skim the fat from the top before heating.