Chicken Stock - Save the Bones!

In our household, we eat a lot of roast chicken.

Which leads to making a lot of homemade chicken stock.

Once a week, usually on Sundays, we roast a whole chicken. Or, if we are too busy during the week most likely you will see me grabbing a whole, cooked rotisserie chicken to go at our local market. On a whim we'll grab bone-in chicken breasts, legs, and thighs and throw them on the grill for an impromptu BBQ dinner with friends.

A (good, make that GREAT) habit that we got into over the last few years was saving the bones and whole carcasses after finishing meals. We'll grab one of those over-sized, resealable plastic bags, toss in whatever is left of the bird, and throw the bag in the freezer. Over the next few weeks, we'll add the new bones to the bag. 

When you are ready - grab a large stock pot, simply throw the bones in the pot with onions, garlic, carrots, herbs, and water; let it simmer for a few hours. The end product is healthier and tastier than the boxed or canned broth on market shelves. Plus, it will freeze for up to 6 months. Make it your new (good) habit to save the leftover bones and carcasses of chicken for future use instead of throwing them out!

It's all too easy. REALLY. Think about the "whole" chicken the next time you eat one - save your bones, and, most importantly, make this stock. Your taste buds will thank me.

(note - this recipe has been doubled for the photos)
  • 2 pounds chicken bones (saved and frozen or ask your local butcher for chicken bones to make stock)**carcass/bones from whole chicken amount to roughly 30% of the total weight at purchase**
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped (does not need to be peeled)
  • 4-5 carrots, roughly chopped (do not need to be peeled)
  • 7 garlic cloves, smashed (do not need to be peeled)
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 2 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme (with stems)
  • 1 small bunch fresh parsley (with stems)
  • approx. 14 cups cold water (enough to cover the ingredients)
Yep, that is one full plastic bag of chicken bones!

About 4 pounds of chicken bones - would have been trash, now is the base for incredible stock!

Placing the chicken bones in the pot

  •  In a large stock pot, add the reserved chicken bones

Mis en Place - Onions, Carrots, Garlic, Thyme, Parsley, Peppercorns, and Bay Leaves

My little kitchen buddy, Lucy, loves her chicken, so she had to check out what was going on in the kitchen from her "perch"

  • Roughly chop up the carrots, onions, and garlic - no need to remove the peels - it's an unnecessary added step

  • To the chicken, add the carrots, onions, garlic, thyme, parsley, peppercorns, and bay leaves

I was doubling my recipe, so I split it up into two pots!

  • Add 14-15 cups of cold water to the pots, enough to cover the chicken and the other ingredients; bring to a boil and quickly reduce to a rolling simmer over a low heat for at least 4 and up to 6-8 hours
Stock reduced after 2 hours
Stock reduced by 4 hours

Whether it's been 4 hours or 6-8, turn the heat off on the stove and let the stock cool for about 20 minutes. Strain into a large bowl and then divide into containers to store. One genius way of storing stock is in ice cube trays - it makes for easy defrosting in smaller sizes. Dominic LOVES his Talenti Gelato, so we save the containers to re-use for many purposes, most commonly for stock (above).

Cheers and enjoy!

Roasted Red Beet Risotto with Pan Seared Salmon

Red Beet Risotto with Pan Seared Salmon

I have been anxiously waiting through the record-heat months of September and October 2012 to cook with some of my favorite Fall ingredients, such as kale, butternut squash, pumpkin, and beets.

I was recently inspired by a dish created by our kitchen team at The Pacific Club using beets in a way I had never used them before: in risotto.

I had never even thought to put the two ingredients together before - but it was striking to look at. The chef used the beet risotto as a compliment to pan-seared salmon; the little red "pearls" of arborio rice stood out beautifully against the orange flesh of the salmon, and just when I thought it was just a pretty dish to look at, I took a bite. The balance of  the flavor of the beets with the rice and the salmon was perfect. I asked chef the basics of how he made his risotto, and he said he folded in roasted beet puree during the final stages before plating.

I knew this was one of the next foodie things I was going to try.


2-3 small red beets, roasted and peeled
2 T butter
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 C arborio rice (or other risotto rice)
1/2 C white wine
3-4 C chicken stock or broth, heated in a separate pot
salt and pepper
**grated Parmesan cheese optional

(Roasted Beets: Pre-heat oven to 375F; place beets in a baking dish with peel still on and toss with a little olive oil; cover with foil and roast for 30-40 mins or until tender; allow to cool before handling.)

Carefully remove the peel of the beet from the beet away

Peeled Beet
Heat a mediums sized sauce pan over medium heat and melt butter; add shallots and sweat for about 5-7 minutes, to soften the shallots.

Meanwhile, add cooled beets to a food processor; puree the beets until completely smooth; season with a little salt and pepper.

Lucy, my kitchen Sous Chef for the evening
Once shallots are soft; add the garlic and stir for about a minute to cook the garlic.

Add the arborio rice to the pan and bring the heat to medium-high; stir the rice for about 2 minutes, slightly toasting the rice with the shallots and garlic.

Add white wine; bring to a boil and cook until there is no more wine in the pan, constantly stirring.

Begin adding hot chicken broth to the rice, a few ladles at a time, enough to cover the rice, and continue to stir over medium to medium low heat, allowing the rice to absorb all of the liquid before adding another stage of liquid to the rice.

Once the rice has absorbed the broth, begin adding another few ladles to the rice (enough to cover) and continue process over again, a total of 3-4 times, until rice is al dente/soft, and appears to be creamy.

Season salmon with salt and pepper; heat olive oil in a non-stick saute pan over medium-high heat and sear in the pan for about 5-7 minutes; turn salmon and continue to cook for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

While salmon is either cooking or resting, add beet puree to the rice and stir together thoroughly.

Season with salt and pepper and add grated Parmesan cheese (if desired).

And plate!

Cheers and enjoy!