An UnFoodie Stocks Up on Stock

February 9, 2011

By Karen

To put Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Basics classes to use, I bought a rotisserie chicken and stock fixings.

OK, I didn’t go absolutely CRAZY and roast my own chicken.

Bourdain recommends roasting the bones for richer flavor and color, and my class partner tried it at home. She said they didn’t brown, so she followed Bourdain’s helpful suggestion to slather on a can of tomato paste, which just made a mess she ended up washing off. So I used my bones as they were.

Assembling the stock, I didn’t throw anything into the pot I wouldn’t eat, which means I peeled the onions. And I used dried rosemary and thyme. I couldn’t see blowing $7 on fresh herbs when all but a few sprigs were destined to rot.

It was fortunate I filled my biggest saucepan nearly to the brim because 3 hours into what was supposed to be an 8-hour gentle simmer, the pot was about 2 quarts low.

Next step: figuring out how to get rid of all the boiled yuck.

Maybe you cooks keep a few bolts of cheesecloth around your kitchen, but I don’t, so I fished out the bones and sodden veggies with my wok spider, then strained the liquid through a paper towel in a colander. No chunks or herbs got through, and the paper towels were loaded with beige sludge.

I know you guys are dying to see my stock, so here it is…

After refrigerating overnight, the thick layer of fat I expected on top failed to materialize, so skimming it became my new challenge and I dirtied several slotted utensils before digging out a handheld coffee strainer. Then I froze 2-cup portions in double Ziploc® bags…

Now, someone, please remind me WHY I did this. And DON’T say “chicken soup.” No way am I going to reinsert the veggies I just tossed, and I’ve never eaten chicken in soup that wasn’t dry and chewy — even my grandmother’s, and she considered it her signature dish.

By making stock from scratch, I realize I’ve boldly thrust a toe into foodie world, but I’m not convinced this stuff will add enough flavor to anything to make giving up freezer space to collect old bones and spend entire afternoons housebound to watch a simmering pot is worth it. And making stock in our class’s professional kitchen with a cleanup crew and destroying my own kitchen are 2 entirely different matters.

And the REAL kick in the ass was, after all that cooking, I still had to ask myself, “What’s for dinner?”

I’ll tell you what I had. Tyson Anytizers®. Chicken with no waste, no hassle.

I know Bourdain would be groaning, “After all these years of watching me, have you learned NOTHING, you useless screwhead?”

What can I say?

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