stock making (WHB#113: rosemary)

Yes, I know. It isn’t the weekend. However, here is my post for

Weekend Herb Blogging (WHB #113) Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

(click on image for larger view and more photos)

chicken stock We like to have chicken stock on hand and make it often, sometimes in large quantities. We use some of it immediately and freeze the rest for using later.

From time to time, our favourite poultry store (St. Andrew’s Poultry) in Kensington Market sells bags of neck and back bones for $1.00(!!) per bag. Each bag holds many bones – no idea of the weight – enough to fill our largest roasting pan. The bones are perfect for roasting and turning into the best stock. We dump the bones into a roasting pan with salt and pepper and maybe a few herbs such as thyme. For this batch, we added sprigs of fresh rosemary for a little extra flavour.

Roast the chicken bones til golden, fragrant and a little crispy. Drain off as much fat as you can and if you have as many bones as we do from our $1 bag, divide the bones evenly between two large stock pots.

Put the roasted bones along with carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, a couple of hot peppers, herbs (fresh or dried thyme, parsley, tarragon), spices (don’t forget the cloves!!) and peppers into the stock pots, just cover with water. Cover the stock pot and put it on a low low simmer until the carrots are soft.

chicken stock Once the carrots are soft, strain the stock and allow it to cool so the fat rises to the top. There will be a fair amount of fat… use a spoon to remove it. Transfer any of the defatted stock you won’t be using immediately into containers for freezing. You can see how rich and gelatinous this is. It’s great as a base for soup, for risotto, adding to gravy, or for making a reduction to place under a chop.

Mmmm…. chicken stock!! It is the perfect remedy for “it’s cold and icy winter” blues.

Here is the recipe we follow:

weekend herb blogging - © kalyns kitchen
This week, WHB is hosted by Astrid (Paulchen’s Food Blog).

Weekend Herb Blogging #113:
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

We love rosemary. And I think I’ve mentioned that I’ve had a devil of a time keeping rosemary alive for more than one season. Year after year, I keep trying, even though we have a shady garden. This year, I put rosemary into two different pots and placed one of the pots on the deck to get maximum sun (ha – maximum *snort* sun is just a couple of hours a day) and the other on the patio near the house to get almost as much sun. Both fared about the same. They didn’t grow prolifically but they didn’t die either. A big achievement.

Of course, rosemary is not hardy here in Toronto and I had to bring them indoors when the night temperatures started to drop below 10C. One of the pots is in the basement under growlights and the other is in T’s office, which faces south. Already, only about a month after bringing them indoors for the winter, I’ve had to treat both plants for powdery mildew. Which amazes me because the house isn’t really all that humid!

To combat the mildew, I made a mild solution of water and baking soda (1 Tbsp baking soda in a litre of water) and dipped the leaves into the water. So far so good with both plants… wish me luck!!

Please read more about rosemary:

If you would like to participate in WHB#113, send your link with *Weekend Herb Blogging* in the subject heading to foodblog (at) paulchens (dot) org by 15:00 MDT on Sunday 16 December, 2007. Please note that WHB will be on holiday for the last two weeks of December. To learn more about WHB and complete details on how to participate, please go to:


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5 responses to “stock making (WHB#113: rosemary)

  1. Jeanne

    Mmmmm – I’m very impressed with how thick that stock looks! I’m never patient enough with mine, but ANY home-made stock knocks the socks off the stuff in cubes. If people realised just how easy it is, maybe they would make their own more often!

  2. Laurie Constantino

    Roasting the chicken bones is key to good flavored stock, and yours looks wonderful. As for the rosemary, like you I live in a cold climate and need to bring it in for the winter. Although mine don’t have mildew, they do have a horrific case of white flies. Yikes! Good luck with your powdery mildew problem!!

  3. ejm Post author

    It made for the most amazing reduction too, Jeanne. It was wonderfully rich (in a good way)

    Hmmm, I never thought that patience was really required for stock. That’s the beauty of it. You can just hack up the vegetables in giant chunks, just cover the bones etc with water, stick a lid on it and let it simmer on incredibly low heat for as long as you want. Aren’t there some people who just have a never-ending pot of stock slowly simmering on the back of their stoves all the time?

    Augh!! White flies are really tricky to get rid of, aren’t they, Laurie? I hope your afflicted rosemary is isolated from the other plants! A mild solution of water and dish detergent (NOT the antibacterial kind) sprayed on the leaves every day for several days might do the trick to get rid of white flies. Good luck!!

  4. ejm Post author

    It does, Kalyn. With rice and bokchoy, it’s the most wonderful thing to have for dinner the day after a big roast chicken dinner too. I love how clean it tastes.

    I think I got the idea of the cloves from “The Joy of Cooking”. Or was it from Mom?? At any rate, as long as there aren’t too many, they add the perfect extra touch needed to elevate the stock from being just ordinary stock. We also often add cloves to storebought chicken stock to rescue it from tasting like commercially made stock.


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