Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Freezer Tip: Stock Bag, Schmaltz Bag

Chicken stock bag and schmaltz bags for the freezer..
Hello! Quick Freezer Tip post today on two things. Stock bags and Schmaltz. I make several types of stock: seafood, beef, chicken, pork, vegetables. Often times I'll combine a couple or more. There's always vegetables in the beef, chicken, or pork. Often times I'll make beef stock and add pork. I don't mind adding chicken bones to a beef stock. But because chicken has a more delicate flavor I don't use beef or pork bones in that stock. For seafood I don't add any other bones or meats. 
So what's a stock bag, and what do I put in them? A stock bag is a I keep in the freezer, labeled with whatever the end result should be. The bag above is obvious as those are all chicken bones, but normally I would label the bag "chicken stock". Any bones from chickens, I throw in there. If I roast a chicken I'll break down the carcass and toss the bones in the bag. Kidneys and hearts we actually eat, but if we didn't they would go into the stock bag. Liver I wouldn't put in stock because it gets cloudy and tends to give off a metallic flavor I don't like. 

Here's the breakdown for what I put in my stock bags.
Chicken/Turkey- bones, little meat left on the bones, kidneys, hearts, chicken feet. I'll also add turkey bones to my chicken stock and use them interchangeably. I know that chicken feet are bones but many times they need to be purchased separate. The benefit of them is that they provide a great flavor and the gelatin in them is good for you. I like to buy chicken bone in with skin for stock and schmaltz. 
Beef- bones- cooked or raw, all sorts of beef bones. Sometimes they are labeled as "soup" bones. The marrow in them is so yummy. I like to add mushrooms to my beef stock in particular because of the depth of flavor they add.  I also add at least celery, onion, and a carrot along with aromatics.

Pork- same with beef, often times you can find neck bones really inexpensive. Cooked or raw bones can be used. The thing about pork is that it seems to have a lot more "scum" that rises to the top than other bones. I just skim off the top during the process or after before straining. I also add at least celery, onion, and a carrot along with aromatics.

Seafood- shrimp, craw fish shells, fish bones, fish heads. Other crustacean exoskeletons. All these things are great in a seafood stock.  They can be cooked or raw. I also add at least celery, onion, and a carrot along with aromatics.

Vegetable stock- onions, celery, carrots(not too many they can make a stock sweet), daikon, carrot peelings, garlic, shallots, stems from cilantro and parsley, pea pods,  mushrooms, tomatoes (though they color the stock), so many options. I do not like broccoli, bell peppers, asparagus, hot chilies, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, potatoes, collard greens, beets, onion skins. Many of those items are over powering, some are bitter, and some color the stock (beets and onion skins).

Aromatics: Garlic cloves, peppercorns, coriander seed, bay leaves, Sichuan peppercorns. stems from parsley, stems from cilantro, those are all are pretty standard for all stocks I make. Depending on flavor or what the stock will be for I'll add lemon grass, ginger, or Kaffir leaves.

I don't always roast my bones and vegetables before making my stock or broth. Often times I take the bag from the freezer to the pot. But it does add more flavor. I most often make stocks and broth in my electric pressure cooker anymore. It's so easy. I put everything in the pot, add water. Close the lid and cook. Here's what I do.

Stock (Not Roasted)

Contents of stock bag
  1. Place contents of bag into the pot.
  2. Cover with water, taking care not to over fill.
  3. Instant Pot- Cover and cook on MANUAL, HIGH pressure, 60 minutes. Or 40 minutes for vegetable stock. For a bone broth 120 minutes will really get a flavorful stock and the bones will fall apart.
    Slow cooker- cook on low for 8-10 hours.
    Stove top- bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer for 2-4 hours.
  4. Cool the stock.
  5. Strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with coffee filters or cheesecloth.
  6. Discard solids.
  7. Freeze in an ice cube tray or in portions for use. 

Buying bone in, skin on chicken is a money saver for me. I use every part.  Nothing is wasted.

Now, schmaltz.Schmaltz is rendered or clarified chicken fat. Or goose fat, some areas it's any rendered animal fat. But for this post it's chicken fat. I save chicken skin and fat for this in a bag. A few slices of onion are great also. To make it I add it to a pan and cook until the fat is melted. The onion will flavor it. You'll be left with chicken skin that is like pork cracklin's. Store it in a container for Matzo balls, Khao Mun Gai, Chicken and Dumplings, stir fry, fried livers, frying potatoes. See the full recipe below.
This summer I read a book called The Book of Schmaltz: Love Song to a Forgotten Fat by Michael Ruhlman, yes I read a cookbook, it was really neat seeing all the uses for something that I just have used in my kitchen for a while. Many neat recipes, I didn't try any of them but it was fascinating. So while I don't use this for more than a handful of dishes, I still think the flavor is fantastic for the things I use it for. It's well worth skinning chicken and rendering it in my opinion.


Chicken fat
Chicken skin
1/2 onion sliced thick, skin removed
  1. Heat ingredients in a pan on medium heat.
  2. Stir and let the fat render from the skin and solid fat. 
  3. Don't let the onions burn, lower the heat if needed.
  4. Cook until the chicken skin is crisp.
  5. Strain the rendered/clarified fat through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth.
I've also used turkey fat and skin for this.

Clarified chicken fat, or schmaltz is flavorful and great for cooking.

Thanks for reading Give Peas A Chance!
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Thanks for reading Give Peas A Chance!
Find me on
 FacebookTwitter (@peasblog), Instagram (@peasknees), Google +

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