I’ve had a bit of a break through. I’ve realised why my blogging is slowing down. Each and every time I sit down to write something I get stuck at the beginning. How to start?! I’m very conscious that I’ve started probably half of my blogs with ‘So….’ and I sit there and try to think of a witty or memorable first sentence, then I distract myself and forget about the blogging I was definitely definitely going to finish and it sits there for another day!
But the thing with this post is, how am I going to convince you that home-made chicken stock is the way forward without everyone thinking I’m some kind of weirdo who boils bones on a regular basis!? I’ve also got to convince you that even though the pictures aren’t exactly artistic chicken stock really is worth it.
1 chicken, with all the meat removed, preferably eaten by your hungry Sunday lunch guests
1 Onion, quartered
1 leek, roughly cut
2 sticks of celery (only if you have it already)
1 or 2 carrots roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves ‘bashed’
Sprinkle of Salt
A grind or 3 of pepper
Thyme (again, only if you’ve got it – herbs are not 100% necessary for stock)
Water – enough to cover most, or all if it fits, of the bits in the pot
- Once lunch has finished, probably after people have left as well (dismantling a chicken isn’t that pretty) strip the bird of all the meat that can be used for sandwiches for the next few days
- Break off the legs and pop them in the pot. You may have to break the carcass into two as well to fit it in. As this is a cooked bird, it shouldn’t be squeamish work. But if you are a bit nervous of snapping a spine with your bare hands take a sharp knife and do it that way, just be careful not to slip as it can get a bit greasy
- Add the carrot, leek, celery, onion and garlic to the pot, along with salt and pepper
- Pour over the water
- Turn on the heat under the pan
- Bring to the boil, and turn the heat down to a gentle simmer with the lid slightly open
- Simmer for as long as you can, I did mine for about 3 or 4 hours, a good Sunday evening of CSI should keep you occupied while this it is simmering
- Take a bowl and a sieve and ladle the mixture into the sieve
- Push as much through the sieve as you can, you’ll find that everything is pretty mushy
- Once you’ve got a lovely bowl of stock, the best thing to do is pour it into ice-cube trays and freeze it. That way you don’t have to worry about using it up asap and you can use it as a flavour enhancer and not just in risotto etc
Ok, I know life is a bit too short most of the time to faff around making your own stock, but when it comes to chicken stock this is just so worth it. It’ll change the way you cook risotto for ever, and adding an ice-cube or 2 of it to even a pasta dish or a cock-a-leekie pie will just bring out so many flavours.
The beauty, for me, is that I know exactly what went into it. I don’t really know how they make those little concentrated, freeze-dried stock cubes, and I don’t really want to know but the difference in taste between those and the real thing is astounding. I’m not trying to preach too much about this, as I can’t claim to be doing this with all the leftover roast lunches. I’m not going to start doing my own beef or veg stock as I just can’t be bothered. But chicken stock, why not give it a try?