Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Stock Post

What's your fantasy/science-fiction kitchen gadget? Mine is device that makes rich, hot chicken stock on its own. I don't know how this toy would work, but I want one as soon as it's invented.

This is how I usualy make my own chicken stock: I put a 3 pound chicken in a stock pot, cover with plenty of water, add some roughly chopped celery, carrots and an onion, plus a couple of bay leaves,parsley sprigs, and salt. Then I bring to a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half, removing the scum with a slotted spoon as necessary. When the stock is done, I strain it and squeeze every drop of broth out of the veggies by pushing them through a sieve with a spoon.

All this yields a golden rich stock, plus plenty of chicken to use in my lunch salads and sandwiches. The stock makes a quick soup and a meal in itself if you add noodles or rice and some big, moist chunks of chicken. Sometimes I'll toss in some veggies; other times I'll add some sliced carrots 15 or 20 minutes before the stock is done, since I'll end up sieving and tossing the ones I used at the start. They don't have much flavor by this time.

Lately I've been eating chicken soup with dumplings. I don't make own, oh, no--I buy frozen pelmeni at the Russian store*. (Pelmeni are a sort of Russian ravioli.)

Chicken pelmeni are the best, but you can also get beef or veal. The ingredient list looks pretty decent. Dough: Flour, water, eggs, salt. Filling: Chicken, onion, salt, pepper.

After straining the stock, toss in the pelmini for 5-7 minutes. They cook quickly. Ladle into a bowl--a cafe au lait mug is preferable-- and slurp.

*Spartak, 5587 N. Diversey Blvd.,Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin 53217-5202. Phone: (414) 332-3347.

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