A good Chicken Stock is the building block of many a good soup, sauce and stew. Quality homemade stock is to the Chef as much a staple as good olive oil, butter, salt and pepper. Although there are many retail varieties of stocks now available, many of them I find too salty and contain a lot of unwanted additives.
Plus I find something very enjoyable and therapeutic about making stocks for my kitchen. Knowing that the entire dish is made from scratch and know exactly what is in the food you are eating.
Don’t use vegetable or food scraps to make stock. If you wouldn’t serve them for dinner why would you put them in your stock. Stock needs to be pure and delicious.
- 6 chicken carcasses approx. 1.5-2 kilograms
- 2 medium onions peeled and quartered
- 2 stalks celery roughly chopped
- 2 carrots peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 5-6 black peppercorns
- Enough cold water to cover everything
- Place all the ingredients in a large pot and cover with water.
- Bring it all to the boil.
- Once boiling immediately reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer for up to 4 hours.
- Every hour skim the foam off that accumulates on top and discard.
- Strain the stock.
- Discard the solids (if you used meaty carcasses, feel free to pull any of the meat off and use as desired).
- Strain the stock through a fine strainer to remove any fine solid particles.
- Refrigerate overnight, (the following day remove and discard they layer of hard fat that has solidified on top overnight).
- The stock can now be used as required, refrigerated for 2-3 days, or portioned and frozen to be used at your convenience for up to a few months.
The recipe above is for a light stock. If a deep, dark, richer stock is required, brown the bones first in a 200 degree oven then simmer for 6-8 hours (this will require adding more water during the simmering process to prevent the stock drying up)
This recipe makes approximately 3 liters (3 quarts) of stock.
For a very clear broth, leave out the carrots, don’t use the celery tops and simmer for only 2-3 hours.
The stock pot is not a rubbish bin, put good quality ingredients in for a good quality stock.
Yes you can use chicken wings for stock, the fat will solidify on the surface of the stock in the fridge overnight and is easily removed.
Skim, skim, skim. Gently simmer a stock rather than boil and remove any foam, scum that builds up on the top. Boiling just churns the stock in the pot and makes it difficult to remove impurities.
Wash chicken in cold water before cooking, this removes any traces of blood. Blood can create a cloudy stock. Another way to reduce this is to bring the water to the boil first then place the chicken in. This will cook the blood before it has the opportunity to leak out and cloud the stock. Vegetable tops like Celery tops can create a cloudy stock, just use the stalks.
I don’t add any salt to my stock, but rather add it to the dish I’m using it in. This will give you a better result when cooking the final dish. So remember when you do add salt in your final dish, the flavour of the stock will shine.
What about other veg and herbs? I prefer to leave these to the final dish. It’s the same as with the salt, I want this to be a clean chicken broth flavour. That way I can take my dish in any direction I wish. If I add coriander to the stock for instance, I’m stuck with it. My final dish might be a light sage and onion soup, then what?