Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Roast a Chicken, Create Stock, Mash a Rutabaga...

I've wanted to make my own stock for a very long time, even when the only stock I'd have considered making would be veggie.  It's one of those things that seems (is) so easy, but that I just never did. 

I've recently learned that bone broth is a great source of a couple amino acids: proline and glycine.  Apparently, we can make both of them on our own, but it's more efficient if we get them from our diets.  I've always loved really brothy soups, so the thought of sipping my own rich stock as a snack or part of a meal was even more appealing after learning the health benefits of doing so. 

To make chicken stock, I'd need bones and bits.  This meant that my other contemplation of roasting a whole chicken was going to have to happen as well. 

So, first up: Dinner.

Roasted Whole Chicken

I read a lot of recipes for roasting chicken, but they were all pretty fussy.  I decided to keep it simple for my first go-round.  

I bought a 4lb chicken at Whole Foods.  I made my wonderful husband deal with unwrapping it and taking out the envelope of bits.  I put the envelope of bits into a ziplock and into the fridge for their moment the following day.  Next, I asked him to stuff the cavity with a lemon and an onion that I'd quartered, as well as about six garlic cloves.  Next, I brushed a roasting dish with grass-fed butter and once I (he) got the chicken settled, I liberally brushed it with the butter as well.  I followed with a heavy seasoning of salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  Into the oven- I don't think it could be any easier.
375F for about 80 minutes.  You want to go about 20 minutes per pound, and your meat thermometer should read 165F.  I checked it at 60 minutes, but it needed the full 80.  Make sure you don't hit bone when you take the temperature.  Here's a picture of where you should place the thermometer.

After you have dinner, pick the chicken clean and store the leftovers for soup or chicken salad or for midnight snacks.  This is SO much easier to do when the chicken is warm, so it's worth doing even if you'd rather just put it away and watch a movie.  Leave the carcass in the roasting pan.  Remove the lemons, but you can leave the other aromatics.  Wrap the dish and put in the fridge for the next day.

***Auto-immune friendly if alternate fat was used to brush over chicken.  Bacon fat would be yummy.

Scott did a great job stuffing in all the aromatics!

Golden Brown

When the chicken was about 45 minutes away from being ready, I started the Rutabaga Broccoli mash.  I saw this idea in a cookbook I was perusing at Barnes and Noble, but I cannot remember which one to give credit.  I didn't write down the recipe, so this is what I did with the idea.

Rutabaga Broccoli Mash

1 medium rutabaga, peeled and diced into about 1" cubes
chicken or veggie stock (or water)
1-2 cups of steamed brocolli florets, chopped
(2 small crowns, cut into florets and put in a covered pan with a bit of stock or water and salt.  Cook until tender over medium heat)
1 TBSP half and half (had I had a can of coconut milk already opened, I'd have preferred to use that, but I didn't and didn't want to open one for such a small amount)
1 TBSP ghee (you could use grass-fed butter or coconut oil instead)
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 TBSP dried chives
salt and pepper to taste
***Auto-immune friendly if coconut milk and oil are used

Place the diced rutabaga into a small sauce pot and cover with stock or water.  Cover and bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer for about 30 minutes, or until fork tender.  Drain and return to pot.  Using a potato masher, mash rutabaga and add in all additional ingredients.  Combine and season to taste.

This turned out so well, totally surpassed my expectations.  This would be good beside any protein, but would also be a hearty addition to a vegetarian plate, or as a base under a lentil dal or bean stew.

Dinner was delicious.  Even more exciting was that I was going to make stock the next day as a result of this awesome meal!

Chicken Stock

I think you could add/omit pretty easily here... I love bay, so I added 3 bay leaves, but if you love thyme, a bunch of thyme would be good too.  And I think any root veggies or squash would work.  I don't think you could do much to mess it up considering you will strain everything out in the end.  

1 chicken carcass and bones
1 envelope of the innards and bits
2 medium carrots, chopped into a few pieces
4 stalks of celery- ideally the leaves from the heart of celery too, chopped into a few pieces
1 medium onion- I had 1/2 of a yellow and 1/2 of a red, so I just used those
5 garlic cloves, or more if you aren't using the ones you roasted with
3 bay leaves
good pinch of salt
Filtered water

Once you get everything into a heavy bottomed dutch oven, (I used a 7qt) cover with the filtered water and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce the heat and simmer for at least 6 hours, uncovering for the last hour.  You can let it go longer if you want.  For like a day or two if you really want to.
When it's done, strain from one pot into another with a mesh strainer.  Discard the bits, or eat some of them as Scott did, and once it's a little cooled, transfer the stock to containers.

The next day, there will be a layer of fat on top of the stock.  That's totally ok, it's super good for you.  Once it warms it will be perfectly smooth and velvety.  I warmed some up in a small coffee cup to sip one day, and on another I warmed it on the stove and added some of the leftover chicken and a couple tablespoons of tiny tiny circle corn pastas to make a soup. I plan to have a little each day, but it could easily be frozen for your next pot of soup.  I couldn't help but think just how rich a smooth butternut squash soup would be with this as the base... and that could happen because after this weekend, I no longer fear roasting whole chickens or making stock- in fact, I have NO idea why I was ever intimidated because both really require so little from the cook. 

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