Early January is resolution time. Mine, for 2015, is to only use homemade chicken stock. None of that canned or boxed stuff for this guy. The thought behind this came from a recent visit to Blueacre Seafood. My father and I were lucky enough to get schooled in gumbo making from head chef and Louisiana native Kevin Davis. The finished product blew away any of my later attempts to recreate it at home. As I thought back to that day in the restaurant, the vision that stuck with me (and at least partially explained the chasm between good and great gumbo) was the stock.
After creating a dark chestnut roux and adding the holy trinity to cook out for a bit, we added stock. At room temperature, it poured gloppy. The gelatin created added body and richness to the final product that simply could not be replicated with store-bought chicken stock. Believe me, I tried.
Now fast forward to December. I’ve made stock before. It’s a bit time-intensive but always worth the effort. So my mind was made up. 2015 would be the year of homemade stock.
Instead of building up a healthy supply to get me going and fill my freezer, I decided to try a new method for making stock, with a new piece of equipment I hadn’t ever used: Pressure Cooked Chicken Stock using a recipe from Michelin-starred chef Heston Blumenthal, and using a Fagor Pressure Cooker.
The plan was simple. Make a batch of stock at home and write up a post about the experience. The following email to our “A Sharp Knife & Salt” editor ensued:
I’m usually very good in the kitchen. Rarely (hell, never) do I use a recipe. I remembered why yesterday. It’s because I don’t follow them. I bought all of the stuff and after shelling out a decent amount of money for all of the ingredients, I was a little bummed about how little stock the recipe was going to yield. So instead of just following it, I added more water. More water should eventually lead to more stock, right?
Well the pressure cooker was surprisingly easy to use and everything went according to plan and cook time. As I was straining the stock from the solids, the color was great and my entire house smelled delicious. I even tested the chicken that was in the strainer and it was flavorless (as it should be). Then I tasted the stock and it was like water. Funny how that works when you don’t follow a recipe … I then decided to boil it down to reduce the liquid and hopefully concentrate the flavor. I did. And it did. Only now it’s almost like a cloudy chicken demi-glace, all gelatinous and packed with mushroom (not chicken) flavor.
Let’s just say that by every fault of my own, this stock didn’t exactly turn out. Undeterred, I will make this again. Stay tuned for Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock – Take 2!