Recently I made a large batch of chicken stock. I have posted about making stocks on a couple occasions, but since we've been making our own stocks a little less than a year now, I feel like we're past the "I wonder how this will turn out?" phase and we've gotten pretty reliable at busting out a good batch when we need to. Our process is pretty simple- rough chop a large bowl of vegetables- carrot, celery, onion, smashed garlic, maybe some shallot. Lightly saute in a huge stock pot, stick a chicken carcass on top, pour in some cold water, bring to a boil then lower the heat to a slow bubble, and skim the whole time- simmering for about 3-4 hours.
(By the way, I know I've pointed this out before, but making our own chicken stock really helps us stay within our grocery budget. Buying 2 large organic chicken breasts costs like 8 bucks or something like that, but 1 whole Draper Valley chicken only costs like 6 or 7 bucks, and you can break it down into portions for several different meals, and then use the carcass for a huge batch of stock, which you can then freeze and save for different meals. It's very economical- I recommend it. And healthier, no high sodium broth to worry about! Maybe someday I'll recruit a filmmaker friend and post a tutorial on how to break down a chicken.)
Of course, every batch has something different. Sometimes we add a parmesan rind, sometimes we roast the chicken first, eat the roasted meat for dinner, and make stock afterward with the browned carcass. This time, I left the onion skins on, hoping for (and getting) a rich dark color.
So, after making what ended up being- actually, I didn't measure. I started with 12 cups of water and I'm guessing I ended up with around 8 or 9 cups of stock. We used it in couscous, a buttery rice pilaf, and these awesome ramen bowls, and we still have a tiny bit left that is reaching "eat it or toss it" land. (Maybe I'll just have another noodle bowl for lunch today.)
I don't eat a lot of ramen, so I'm no expert, but I knew what I was in the mood for and it came out nicely. Inspired by this noodle bowl recipe, I just grilled some sliced vegetables (purple cauliflower, carrot, celery) and set them aside. In a bowl, I layered the grilled vegetables, cooked ramen noodles (from a Top Ramen packet, sans seasoning, haha) some sliced hard boiled egg, and a scattering of fresh cilantro and chopped scallions. Then I poured about a cup of hot broth over the top of each bowl. All I did to the broth was heat it up, and add about 2 tsp. of fish sauce. We didn't have any limes, but we could have used some.
At the table, we seasoned our bowls with soy sauce, sriracha, and a chili pepper blend that they serve with the noodle bowls at a local sushi chain- having a mildly photographic memory is pretty handy when you don't know the name of something but you know exactly what the package looks like. I picked it up at Uwajimaya.
Very tasty, but it could have used some added onion or garlic, in hindsight, either grilled, or sauteed and then added to the broth. We're sort of on a hunt for new dinner staples, and I think this sort of thing will make it onto the list.