A cooking week based on chicken and stock
Posted 26 March 2012 - 05:37 AM
I love having homemade stock to hand and even bought a MASSIVE stock pan a couple of years ago to make big batches. Even so what I always find is that I make up a batch, go through the whole straining, sometimes clarifying, reducing, freezing process and then just burn through it all in a few weeks. I got a pressure cooker last year and have made a few stocks in it, I've always been very very impressed by them - definitely far tastier than even my best slow simmered ones were. So last week I decided to try and build a pressure cooked stock into my weekly routine - it worked brilliantly, so much so that I'm doing it again this week. It was such a success I thought I'd post about what I'd done in case there are any other lazy midweek cooks out there who find it useful.
Day 1 (Monday for me) - Dinner tonight is a simple roast chicken with bread and salad. My absolute favourite way to do roast chicken is following Thomas Keller's recipe from Bouchon, it is so so simple but has never failed to give me tasty, succulent chicken, it's even better that it's quicker than my old way of doing it too! The "recipe" is so simple I'll detail it here: I just take a smallish chicken (about 1.4kg/3lb works best for me), let it come up to room temp for an hour or so, sprinkle it liberally (and I mean liberally!) with coarse salt then roast it in a very hot oven (230C/450F) for around 45 minutes. While it's resting (for a good 15 minutes) I make a sauce using herb infused white wine vinegar and a small amount of chicken stock from the pan juices.
When we've fought over the oysters and picked all the meat off the carcass I break what's left up a bit and pop it back in a 230C oven to brown a bit more. I chop up an onion, half a carrot and a couple of celery sticks and get them a bit coloured in the pressure cooker then chuck in the browned chicken carcass and cover it with cold water. 2 hours at full pressure gives about 3 litres of really deeply chicken-y stock. Last week I actually added a couple of rashers of smoked bacon which was great too.
I'm now set up for the week, I've got enough stock to do a soup and maybe a risotto and I've guaranteed myself three really tasty meals without having to commit hours and hours of slaving or having 20 litres of stock simmering away for days (possible *slight* exaggeration!) on end, losing most of its flavour into my extractor, admittedly the kitchen doesn't smell as nice as it used to with the traditional stock method but the food tastes a damn sight better!
Day 2 - using a good helping of last night's stock I made a great italian soup, some fried onion, garlic, celery and carrot, a couple of bay leaves, some cannellini beans, a few tinned tomatoes and some fresh herbs all cooked in 30-40 minutes and tasting great. The bacon in the stock really helped with the flavour of this soup I think, one of the best minestrones I've made.
Day 3 - Homemade pizza day, not having a wood burning oven I've spent ages trying to get the best pizza I could, my stand out favourite method is this one from Serious Eats. I have a big black iron skillet which I get nice and hot on the gas while my broiler is getting up to temperature, I shape my dough and lay it in the skillet, sauce it quickly and put it under the broiler, once it's nice and charred on top I simply move back to the cooktop to finish the bottom. Quicker and better than my old method of using a pizza stone, definitely the nearest I've got to "proper" pizza at home.
Just thought I'd throw this one in here even though it doesn't have much to do with my pressure cooked stock - it's just so good!
Day 4 - Risotto made with the stock let down with some water, not much to say about this one, just made in the normal way but, wow, was it tasty.
I liked it so much last week I'm doing the same again today, chicken will be roasting in a couple of hours then the stock will be used to make the Cannellini bean and leek soup with chilli oil from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Veg book. I've not tried this yet but I suspect it will be superb using the stock. I'd always let myself believe that I needed several chicken carcasses to get any useful amount of stock but with this new pressure cooked variety it's obvious that a single bird will do.
Posted 26 March 2012 - 10:52 AM
learn, learn, learn...
Cheers & Chocolates
Posted 27 March 2012 - 06:22 AM
Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:09 PM
Posted 30 March 2012 - 04:13 PM
Posted 30 March 2012 - 04:20 PM
Okay, I'm about to try it! Was looking at my pressure canner manual, though, and for chicken stock it advises a mere 10 minutes at 15 lbs pressure. &roid reports having cooked it 2 hours. I sense a disparity here. Any further guidelines on how long I should pressurecook it? I could always open it up after it cooks 10 minutes and see wht I've got, but the cool down time with the huge cooker is not insignificant.
We have topics on pressure cooked stock here and here.
Posted 30 March 2012 - 04:24 PM