Friday, April 6, 2012

Caldo de Pollo (Mexican-style Chicken Stock)

The original recipe is adapted from chef and cookbook author Susanna Trilling. Peggy, my mom and I took one of her cooking classes at her ranch in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2005. I have never forgotten the countryside or the food! I especially like the way the stock is seasoned. "Seasons of My Heart, A Culinary Journey Through Oaxaca, Mexico" Ballantine Books, November 1999 ISBN 0-345-42596-0

Dried thyme from last summer's garden

Allspice, clove, dried chiles, thyme and bay season the stock

Dried mulato pod chile - mail order from Chilly Chiles, Ottawa
I say chile (chi-LAY), some say chili.  Both are correct.

Makes approximately 2 liters or quarts

3.5 pounds (1.5 kg) chicken parts (carcass, necks, backs, legs etc.)
3 quarts (3 litres) + cold water
1 large red or white onion, chopped
A few whole cloves
2 stalks of celery with leaves, sliced
1/2 large or 1 smaller head of garlic (yes, all of it)
2 carrots, scraped and thickly sliced
2 bay leaves
1 whole dried chile de arbol (sub mulato pod or dried chipotle, got none?  Use a jalapeno or some ground cayenne)
6 black peppercorns
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
6 whole allspice

1. Combine chicken in large stock pot with enough cold water to cover - about 3 quarts/litres. I tend to use chicken legs to make stock as they are economical. I also use a carcass leftover from a farm chicken when I am fortunate to have one.

2. Add the chopped onion and celery, sliced carrots, bay leaf, hot chile, peppercorns and allspice. The chile is standard in Mexican chicken stocks. Cayenne or jalapeno also work well.  If you don't have whole allspice or peppercorns use the ground version.

3.  Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer another hour until the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a fork. Remove chicken pieces to cool. Strain stock.  You can discard vegetables or use as part of your next soup.  Slice carrots, squeeze garlic out of cloves and add back to pot.  Remove meat from bones and add back to broth.

Nice colour, not too much fat. 

You can cool stock overnight and then remove fat that hardens on surface if you wish.  I use it the way it is thinking fat has gotten a bad rap.  Helps you absorb fat soluble vitamins and keeps you full longer.  Chicken skin, interestingly enough, is  a good source of vitamin D.

The stock freezes well and keeps up to six months in your freezer.

This stock is the basis of a good "Country Tortilla Chicken Soup."  I developed the tortilla soup at this link for the Chicken Farmer's of Canada so of course I recommend it
Use the caldo de pollo instead of water in the tortilla soup recipe at the link above.  You can use the chicken, veggies in there too and simplify some of the steps.

It is hot so a bit of a steamy picture

My friend Rob enjoying the soup

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