Sunday, October 4, 2009

Kitchen Basics - Homemade Chicken Stock - 1

If you enjoy cooking, even just a little bit, you'll know how good it is to hear the following sentence
- 'I made some stock yesterday, would you like some?'
Would I? Would I? Of course I would!

There is nothing better than cooking with the real deal, it lifts the flavour of a dish to dizzying new heights, and it's so simple to make. It does take a little planning ahead though because you need around four hours of pot-gazing time in order to make a good one. (You don't actually have to watch the pot for four hours, but it isn't a good idea to leave things boiling away on a stove unattended.)

So here is the deal - next time you roast a chicken, you're going to make some stock; and I'm going to spell out just how you do it below. OK? Ready? Let's go!


1 chicken carcass (whatever is left after you serve your roast bird and pick off the meat for tomorrow's sandwiches)
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and left whole
1/2 bunch of celery, washed and roughly chopped (it's fine to use if it's a little wilted)
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
Half a bunch of parsley, washed, no need to chop (again it's fine if it is a little wilted or is on its last legs)
2 bay leaves
Anything else you may have kicking around in the fridge or kitchen, for example: leeks, pumpkin, spring onions, thyme or other hardy herbs etc
Salt and pepper to season

Put all the ingredients in a large pot. Cover well with cold water and bring to the boil. Skim the gunk off the top that has risen to the surface.

Adjust the heat to a simmer, season and leave on the stove for four hours.
Strain the stock and let it cool.

Once cooled, place in the fridge overnight and the following day remove any fat that has set on the surface. You can bring the stock to the boil again if you like, just to get any other impurities out that will surface once re-heated. Strain again, and cool.

You will need to use the stock within two or three days, or freeze it straight away. I like to freeze it in half-litre portions and also make a tray of ice stock-blocks for when you just want to add a little lift to a dish and can pop one or two out easily without having to defrost them.
Now just think how delicious your next soup or risotto is going to be...


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