The past few days have been all about cooking. Last night was wild salmon, rice and roasted vegetables. Today I'm going to make granola (to mix with yogurt and strawberries for breakfast) and fresh applesauce (to go with a pork roast tonight).
And on Saturday I made the aforementioned chicken pot pie, an all-day affair that left my feet swollen from standing in the kitchen for so long, but which also left the apartment smelling amazing. It was the first really chilly day of the season (hooray!), the rain was coming down for hours and I was listening to a local classical station on the radio. Our little loft felt cozy and I was relaxed. It was definitely therapy I needed.
After I roasted the chicken for the pie, I used the carcass to make a stock. It was my first time making stock since I always forget to keep the carcass and bones, thoughtlessly tossing them in the trash only to later have an oh-crap-I-could've-used-that! moment.
For some reason this time a lightbulb went off in my head and I used the carcass and some seasonings I already had on hand to simmer a very basic but delicious stock.
I Googled a few recipes but they all called for 3 or 4 chickens. I only had one so I just kind of did my own thing. It required basically 1 minute of prep, then simmered on its own for a couple of hours... and voila: a whole quart of chicken stock!
This stuff costs, like, $6 a box at Whole Foods and that's obviously not as fresh as making it in your own kitchen. Here's the recipe I came up with:
Simple Chicken Stock
1 chicken carcass and any bones from the legs/wings/etc
1 large onion, halved
2 dried bay leaves
about a dozen whole peppercorns
1 - 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Place all the ingredients in a pot. It should be just big enough so that everything fits snugly - you don't need a giant soup pot if it's just the one carcass.
Add enough water to cover everything, plus about one inch. Bring to a boil and then skim any foam from the top. Lower the heat and let simmer for at least two hours. Add salt to taste.
You could also add a carrot and/or celery for a richer flavor, I just didn't have these on hand at the time. Even without them, this stock is so much fresher than the stuff in a box at the supermarket!