Just breaking down a few chickens

Just breaking down a few chickens, like you do….

This is literally the BEST chicken stock I have ever made

When I did my short stint in culinary school, I learned how to make chicken stock.  You roast the bones and you simmer for-EV-ah and you can’t let it boil.  Then strain and strain and strain…

I have made it that way at home for ages.. and for a long time I didn’t even make stock because I had nowhere to store it.   I used to freeze it but I’m an instant gratification kind of gal.  I don’t like waiting for it to thaw.  And yes, I know, I could freeze it in ice cube trays and it would thaw faster but that doesn’t solve the problem of freezer space of which I have very little. Not only that, but I could never not boil it. My stockpots are not the greatest and trying to regulate the temp is so. hard.

I had contemplated getting a pressure canner for a while but I didn’t want to spend the money.  Not when chances are I would just use it to can stock.. or maybe not even that because I have a habit of trying new things and then, when the bloom is off the rose, I forget about them.  (which is why, as for much as I want to buy a SideKIC, I won’t)

And then, a friend of mine was making room in her home after redoing her pantry and she had a giant pressure canner hogging space. She offered it to me! (and I gave her chicken stock in return!)

Big Bettty

I call her “Big Betty”

Now I have used Big Betty to pressure can the stock I made on the stove. But it never occurred to me to make the stock IN the canner. This canner is HUGE at 23 quarts so I never thought I could cook in it.

I've had these frozen carcasses in the freezer for ages

I’ve had these frozen carcasses in the freezer for ages

I don’t remember how I stumbled upon this post by An Oregon Cottage but when I read it, it was a light bulb went off! I was inspired!
I put the chicken bones and bits I had in the freezer in the bottom of the pot, threw in a quartered onion, four carrots broken into bits, about two and a half gallons of water, some bay leaves I got from Otis at a From Scratch Club Swap
BayLeaf
and a small amount of peppercorns

These are Penzey's Peppercorns

These are Penzey’s Peppercorns.. because I’m basically a Penzey’s slut.

I popped the lid on the canner and dropped on the 10lb gauge weight.
It took about 25 minutes for the canner to get up to pressure and by then, the house was smelling fantastic. My canner manual says that my weight should jiggle every few seconds. It’s not as important for cooking but for canning, it’s kinda important. When I started pressure canning it took me a while to figure out what a jiggle looked like. So here.. Imma gonna help you out.

It looks like this:

I set the timer for 30 minutes. If you are wondering why I chose 30 minutes, it’s because the manual for my canner has a recipe for vegetable soup made from raw bones and it has a time of 50 minutes, which seemed pretty long for already cooked bones.

After 30 minutes, I turned the heat off, removed the weight gauge (helloooo chicken sauna!) and when the pressure came down, I cracked the canner open and all I saw was this beautiful stock and all the stuff was on the bottom.
I fished out a bone, which was still whole … and I’m not even kidding when I say I did this with one hand

Daaayum.. these bones have given their all

Daaayum..

Folks, there was no skimming, there was no foamy bits.. no crud. Everything was still in one piece. The carrots didn’t fall apart but they were very very cooked. All I had to do, was dip my ladel

ooo.... so pretty

ooo…. so pretty


And strain
Lookit! no cruddy bits

Lookit! no grey muddy cruddy bits


When I got closer to the bottom, I had to pour the stock out of the pot through the strainer just because I couldn’t get my ladle around all of the bits.

For a total of maybe 20 minutes active time and an hour of passive time, I got 8 quarts of gorgeous, chickeny stock.

8 quarts of stock

8 quarts of stock


How does it taste?

Amazing.. seriously amazing… the best I’ve ever ever made. Also, in case you were unaware, Bone Broth is Beautiful
PS: If you are looking for a more traditional method of making stock from a stewing hen, check out Leah’s amazing post over at From Scratch Club.

A different kind of burger

A while back, the Spousal Unit brought home some premade chicken feta burgers from Sam’s Club. They were a processed food so they are generally on the no-no list, but they had minimal ingredients and were kinda tasty (probably all that salt).

I thought I could certainly make something similar at home. So I did.

Ground chicken is.. um.. gross. It’s goopy and sticky. I am going to try to grind my own but in the meantime, I’m just buying it from the grocery store.

This recipe is super simple.

You put all your ingredients in a bowl

You smoosh it all together. I usually wear glove cuz ground chicken is kinda.. well.. ew

Divide into 4 balls of goop

Flatten and cook.

Cut in half so you can see the yumminess

I haven’t yet tried to cook these on the grill yet.. they are kinda soft and squishy. Maybe if you refrigerate them first. These would be really good with some tzatziki sauce. But I didn’t have any so I just topped with a few cucumber slices and called it good.

5 from 1 reviews
Chicken Feta Burgers
 
A tasty and quick burger made with chicken, feta cheese, spinach, roasted red peppers and Greek inspired seasonings. Serve with tzatziki sauce, olives and cucumber slices on whole wheat buns or in pita pockets
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground chicken breast
  • 5 oz of fresh baby spinach (that’s about 2 big fistfuls)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • ½ of a roasted red pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Put the ground chicken in a medium bowl
  2. Chop the spinach and mince the garlic and add to the bowl
  3. If using jarrred peppers, blot dry with a paper towel and dice. Add to the bowl (are you getting the idea here?)
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and smoosh together until combined.
  5. Divide into 4 blobs
  6. Heat some olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
  7. Shape a blob into a patty about ½ inch thick and add to the skillet. Repeat with the remaining 3 blobs
  8. Cook on medium high for about 7 minutes each side

Falafel Chicken and homemade Tzatziki sauce

Since this really is a wellness blog.. not just about karate, I thought I’d post a recipe I sort of adapted from a fuller fatter version that involved frying and egg yolks.
I’d site the source, but I don’t know where the original came from.

Anyway, this was very tasty! Makes 4 servings but it heats up nicely the next day.

Falafel Chicken:

Four boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 box Falafel mix. You’ll actually only use 1/2 cup of the mix. (I like Fantastic Foods)
One zip top bag
Spray Oil (like Pam)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Put 1/2 cup of falafel mix in the zip top bag. 

Rinse the chicken breast and shake off most of the water.  One at at time add to the zip top bag and shake to coat.  Put on a baking sheet sprayed with spray oil.

Bake chicken for 20 minutes, or until done through.

While chicken is baking make, tzatziki sauce

Tzatziki Sauce

1/4 cup small chopped cucumber.
One small container (8 ounces) of greek style low fat yogurt if you can find it. (Try Fage – pronouced “Fay -eh”) Otherwise get regular plain yogurt.
One clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon dried Dill (half that if you can find fresh)
Lemon juice, salt, pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  Re-season as necessary. To be honest, I sort of winged this last night.  I think these are about the correct proportions. 

Serve with whole wheat couscous, and a veg.