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How Long Should I Cook Chicken Stock?

Dear Home Ec 101,

Thank you for making your lovely page about the French and Asian methods of cooking chicken stock. I have a question: If I have a long period of free time, can I cook the stock longer than four hours. I’ll often have up to seven hours at a time. Is there any benefit to cooking longer? It seems like it would give more time for vegetable and chicken goop to turn into liquid, but I’m not sure if this is really true.

Signed,
Simmering in Cincinnati 

Heather says:

As long as you remember the difference between boiling and simmering and keep your chicken stock simmering, a long simmer is just fine. Chicken stock with a long, slow simmer does tend to have a richer quality to it. Since I work from home, it’s no big deal for me to throw the bones and vegetables in the stock pot first thing in the morning and check on it occasionally, but not everyone has that luxury.

If you have tested your slow cooker’s temperature range, it’s perfectly fine to use, as well. I’m just weird and prefer using the stove.

Alton Brown’s recipe for chicken stock suggests simmering for 6 – 8 hours. When I shared the recipes for chicken stock, my intent was to make the concept seem as simple as possible without compromising results. Many people would look at a recipe with a 6 – 8 hour simmering time and write it off as impossible. You know and I know that simmering does not mean you have to hover over the pot, but there are those who don’t. My goal, here on Home Ec 101, is to take the intimidation factor out of the kitchen. Cooking is both a craft and an art, anyone can become competent in the kitchen, but there are also those who have a gift.

Chicken StockI digress, back to the question:

If you want to make chicken stock with an extended simmering time, you may find it necessary to add water during the process. It’s really no big deal, just keep an eye on it and if the water level drops below the bones, simply add enough hot water to get everything submerged again.

Stock made with a long simmering time is the currently popular bone broth. The long simmer gives time for the collagen and minerals time to leach out of the bones and into the broth.

Now, something to consider, if you want a clear stock, skip the vegetables if you want a long, slow simmer. Personally, I don’t care about clarity, but some people do.

Enjoy!

Send your questions to helpme@home-ec101.com.

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Garlic and Soy Chicken Thighs

Heather says:

The humble chicken thigh certainly doesn’t get as much attention as its counterpart the boneless skinless chicken breast.  In my area BSCB have been running in the neighborhood of $5 a pound on sale, which makes thighs much more attractive. This recipe is flexible, substitute low sodium soy sauce if you wish.  If you have it on hand, consider adding fresh, grated ginger.

Printable Grocery List.

Garlic and Soy Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

  • 6 – 8 chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 spring onion or 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 – 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • black pepper* to taste

Directions:

Trim the excess skin and fat from each chicken thigh. I leave just enough skin to cover the meat.  Place the breasts in a baking dish just big enough to accomodate the chicken.  If you have too much space between the pieces the sugars in the sauce will burn and your evening’s entertainment will consist of dish scrubbing.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, onion, garlic, and pepper*.  Pour the sauce over the chicken.  Turn each piece so it is well coated and then leave it skin side up.

Bake at 350°F for 30 – 40 minutes.

*If you aren’t cooking for sensitive palates (ie young kids or picky spouses) consider substituting crushed red pepper flakes for the black pepper.  These will add a nice kick.

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Gluten-Free Chicken Marsala

Heather says:

Like many people, I love chicken marsala. If you’ve gone gluten free, no worries, you don’t have to leave chicken marsala behind. This version is a simple variation on the classic, all you need is brown rice flour (This is the one I use) to use in place of wheat. I made this for company the other night and it turned out well. I hadn’t expected the brown rice flour to hold up as well in the sauce as it did. This is also a lower cholesterol version of the recipe -the original called for butter, I only used olive oil to stay within a guest’s dietary restrictions. Modify the recipe as you see fit.

I prefer to serve it with a side of roasted potatoes rather than gluten-free pasta, but it’s a to each their own kind of comfort food. For what it’s worth, mashed potatoes or hasselback potatoes would work wonderfully, too. And if you’re going lower carb just serve it over a bed of quickly sauteed greens like kale or spinach. This will also add some color to an otherwise pale plate.

And yes, I’m totally cheating and using pictures from the first time I photographed chicken marsala. (I was hosting a dinner party and have only just found my 50mm I thought I lost in a move).

If you want to speed up production, you can use two skillets. Since I was cooking for a group, I let the mushrooms begin to cook down in a second skillet while I cooked the chicken. Just be sure to use the pan used for the chicken so you can scrape up all those wonderful bits of goodness produced by the Maillard Reaction should NOT go to waste.

I went with a sauvignon blanc brought over by a friend, which we finished with the meal.

Gluten-Free Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup seasoned brown rice flour (add a pinch each of: salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, and dried basil. Stir)
  • Approximately 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 3/4 cup sweet white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups mushrooms, sliced – baby portabellas, crimini, shittake or even button
  • salt / pepper to taste
  • optional green onions for garnish

Remove any visible fat from the chicken breasts and cover them with plastic wrap or wax paper and pound thin with a mallet, empty wine bottle, or rolling pin. Pro-Tip Pounding the chicken breasts physically breaks down the muscle tissue, leaving you with tender chicken you won’t ever need a knife to cut. Don’t skip that step, go ahead and take out some of the day’s frustrations. It’ll be worth the effort, I promise.

Cut the chicken into manageable pieces. You don’t have to go to bite size, but generally you want pieces people will only need to cut in half. This is a nice compromise between fiddly, fussy cooking and providing a pleasant dining experience. Cut it smaller than in the picture, that’s just to illustrate what the pounded chicken should look like.

Heat your pan over medium to medium high heat. Add 2 TBSP olive oil to the pan. Dredge the chicken in the seasoned rice flour, shake off the excess.

Cook the chicken 2 – 3 minutes a side in the hot pan. Then set aside. You’ll need to cook the chicken in two – three batches to avoid crowding the pan too much.

When the chicken has been browned and set aside, add another small drizzle of olive oil to the pan, then the 3 cups of mushrooms.

Cook the mushrooms until they start to sweat. If your pan starts to dry up too much, turn the heat down a little and cover. When the mushrooms are golden brown around the edges, releasing their liquid magic, it’s time to add the 3/4 cup of  wine.

Simmer until about half the liquid is gone, then add the 1 cup of chicken stock or just more wine, if you prefer.

Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce the heat to medium, simmer for 3 minutes and add the chicken back to the pan and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Return the chicken to the skillet and ensure it has all been coated in the sauce.

Serve and enjoy.

Shared on : Mouthwatering Monday at A Southern Fairytale

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Balsamic Marinated Chicken Thighs

Heather says:

This recipe for balsamic marinated chicken is sort of a repeat. Why? Because sometimes you don’t want to cook a whole chicken and grab the super-value pack of chicken thighs or leg quarters when they go on sale. Like the garlic and soy chicken thighs, this recipe is simple, the only drawback is it’s much better with a longer marinating period. This is a marinate the night before kind of recipe. Sides can be super simple. I went with baked sweet potatoes and oven roasted okra -I tossed the okra in vinegar and rosemary, with a little olive oil, it was okay, but nothing to write home about. I think lentil pilaf may have been a better choice.

Looking for other chicken recipe ideas: here’s a guide to cooking and using chicken

Balsamic Chicken Thighs

: Chicken Thighs Marinated in Balsamic Vinegar

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary – or 1 tsp fresh, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 3 – 4 lbs chicken thighs
  • salt / fresh ground pepper

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the first 8 ingredients. In a shallow, non-reactive container (ie glass or plastic, or even zippered plastic bag) pour all of the marinade over the chicken thighs.
  • Cover and place the container in the refrigerator and allow to marinate for several hours or overnight. Turn the pieces once in a while to ensure they all have a reasonably even coating. (This is where the large zippered bag is handy, check the seal and hand it to a minion to shake)
  • Preheat the oven to 425F and make sure one of the racks is in the middle position.
  • Remove the chicken from the marinade and shake off any excess. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Place the chicken skin side up in a as small a baking dish as possible. The point is to ensure the skin is nicely browned, but the chicken isn’t spread out so far that it will dry out before it reaches a safe temperature.
  • Roast for approximately 35 – 50 minutes -this depends on whether or not you took the chicken out of the fridge as recommended in Cooking for Geeks -the whole don’t skip a temperature stage idea) Use a meat thermometer and remove the chicken from the oven as soon as it hits 165F.

Cooking time: 35 – 50

Number of servings (yield): 6

 

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Chicken and Dumplings

Heather says:

This recipe for chicken and rolled dumplings is my riff on the Lee Bros version which can be found in The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook. I love their recipes and while I think their idea for sweet potato dumplings sounds intriguing, I chose to go with classic rolled dumplings.

Many people include shortening or butter in their rolled dumplings, this would give them more of a damp biscuit feel than a noodle. I stick to milk, flour, salt, pepper, an egg, and if I’m feeling froggy (which I was the other day) a little bit of baking powder. Go easy on the baking powder, you don’t want a bitter dumpling, you just want to lighten the texture. Do not knead or over work the dough, this will cause tough dumplings, only mix the dough just until it comes together.

Chicken and dumplings is a perfect cool weather comfort food. Grab a whole chicken, cut it up, and let’s get started.

: Chicken and Dumplings

Chicken and Dumpling Ingredients

For the chicken itself:

  • 2 tsp kosher salt,
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1 4 – 5lb whole chicken cut-up
  • 1 tbsp vegetable or olive oil

For the chicken and dumpling soup:

  • 1/2 cup white wine, crisper is better
  • 12 cups chicken stock
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves (more if you’re Bobbie)
  • 2 sliced onions
  • 3 large carrots, sliced into coins
  • 3 stalks celery
  • flat leaf parsley, chopped, ~optional
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

Rolled dumplings

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg (beaten lightly)

  • Season the chicken with the salt and pepper and set aside. Grab a large, 6 quart minimum stock pot or dutch oven and heat over medium high heat.
  • Add the oil to the pot and just as soon as it begins to shimmer add the chicken pieces, but do not crowd the pan (in case you decided to double the recipe) Cook about 3 – 4 minutes per side, just until the skin starts to brown. You want brown bits left behind, these are going to drastically enrich the flavor of your chicken and dumplings.
  • Remove the chicken and set aside for a moment.

  • Add all of the vegetables, except the garlic to the pot. Add the wine and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up all those browned bits.

  • When onions begin to soften, return the chicken to the pot. Add the stock, additional fresh ground pepper, bay leaves, and garlic to the pot. Cover loosely and bring the soup almost to a boil and reduce the heat immediately to keep everything at a gentle simmer for about 40 minutes. The chicken should be just about falling off the bones.
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the pot, set aside and allow to cool just enough to handle. Separate the chicken from the bones and skin.

Chicken in a bowl

  • Return the cooked chicken to soup and begin increasing the heat until it reaches a simmer. Taste the broth and add additional salt and fresh ground pepper as needed.
  • While the soup is reheating, make the dumplings.

  • Stir together 1 1/2 cups of flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder. In another dish mix the egg and milk. Add the liquid to the flour and stir until a workable dough forms. (You can experiment with more or less flour or milk until you find the exact consistency you want)
  • Dust your workspace with flour and roll out the dough to about 1/8th of an inch.. Use a pizza cutter or knife to cut the dough into strips an inch wide and the length you’d like. The strips do NOT have to be perfect. Imperfect strips taste just as fab as their perfectly formed counterparts.

Cut dumplings

  • Add the rolled dumplings to the now simmering soup and cook just until the dumplings are done. About 6 minutes or so.
  • Serve.
  • Enjoy

You can also use this base and then add drop dumplings instead of rolled.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 55 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 6

Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)