Wednesday, 31 October 2012

chicken stock

It's always useful to have some chicken stock in the house, either in the fridge or the freezer, as it is the base to so many great dishes. If you have the time, energy and ingredients to hand it is well worth making your own stock, there is something quite satisfying about knowing you made every part of a dish. It also means that you can adjust the flavours to your own taste.

I made this chicken stock as I was craving proper homemade chicken soup and stock cubes just don't quite do the job. My sister has posted her version of chicken soup and homemade stock which is well worth a look. Having a Polish heritage it's hardly surprising that chicken soup and soups in general are important to us.

My stock uses chicken wings rather than a whole bird main because they were on offer when I did my shopping. Feel free to substitute the left over carcass from your roast or a whole bird. Using pre-cooked chicken will alter the flavour and colour but still give you a lovely stock. I have found that by using the wings I end up with a proper 'jellied' stock when it's chilled.

2 kg chicken pieces or left over chicken carcass
2 celery sticks, halved
2 carrots, halved
2 onions, halved
bunch of parsley stalks
4 all spice berries
12 black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
  1. Put all the ingredients in a large sauce pan, cover with cold water so everything is just submerged.
  2. Bring the pan to a gentle boil then reduce the heat to as low as you can and there are occasional bubbles appearing then leave, uncovered for at least a couple of hours. The longer and slower you can cook this the more pronounced the flavours will be. Keep an eye on the water level and add additional hot water if the ingredients are popping above the water. 
  3. Once you have finished cooking the stock strain it through a fine sieve and leave to cool, ideally overnight in the fridge. 
  4. The next day a layer of fat should have formed on the top, skim this off (you could use this for making traditional dumplings). You can either use the stock as it is now or gently simmer to reduce and intensify the flavours further.  

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