Twenty-six degrees….it was 26!!! degrees when I checked the thermometer this morning. Brrr…wooden, raised, south Louisiana houses aren’t built for 26 degree weather. So I’m warming up the house with a batch of chicken stock, set to simmer for hours.
- 3-5 pounds bony chicken parts (backs, necks, wing tips)
- 4 quarts of water, an onion or two (don’t peel–the onion skins lend a golden tint to the stock)
- 4-5 ribs of celery
- 2-3 carrots, cut into large pieces
- 12 whole peppercorns
- 4-5 fresh bay leaves
- Optional: 4-6 cloves garlic, 1 T tomato paste or 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato, and 1 tsp thyme
Bring the chicken parts, water, and a few teaspoons of salt to a gentle boil, cook for 2-3 hours, then add the seasonings. Simmer for 2-3 additional hours, then strain. Put the stock into pint containers and refrigerate or freeze promptly. Refrigerated stock will keep for a week; bring it to a boil before using. Frozen stock keeps for months.
With a supply of homemade stock in the freezer, soup is a snap. Vegetable-chicken noodle soup is in my immediate future….as is chicken-shiro miso soup.
Now I’m counting the days until the weather warms; it should be 75 by Thursday afternoon. Hurrah.
That is the exact reason we bake more in the winter too, it just warms the house so well and the aroma of the bread just gives it that extra “ooomph” of comfort.