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Friday 20 August 2010

Sluttishly Easy: Chicken Stock

Stock is one of those things that whilst I see the benefit of, I often just can't be bothered. It's a lot of faffing, isn't it? But, after roast dinner at the weekend, it seemed a shame to let everything go to waste, so I went about making chicken stock for the first time. I wish someone had told me how easy it was.

We used our stock for soup (recipe for those coming next week) and it made a huge difference. The soup actually tasted of something. The flavour was in every mouthful. Let's be honest, soup is just stuff in water. I plan on making that water as tasty as possible from now on. I'm not sure I'll ever go back to stock cubes now.

This recipes is pretty simple, and it doesn't require very much tending to at all. Just leave it bubbling away on the hob and wait for your house to start smelling like one of those country houses you see on adverts.

You'll need:
  • A chicken carcass from your roast dinner.
  • Two carrots.
  • One large onion.
  • For sticks of celery.
  • Handful of peppercorns.
  • Six cloves of garlic.
  • Two bay leaves.
Make it!

Chop all of the veg and put in a pan with the chicken carcass. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for two hours. Every so often, you'll need to skim off the foam that rises to the top of the pan. When you're done, strain the broth a couple of times and leave to cool. Put in the firdge, and then strain once more before using.

If you've got any left over, it's perfect for freezing. Then you'll have fresh stock whenever you need it.

Flickr image from caspermoller's photostream.


  1. you can also reduce it right down and freeze in ice-cube trays .... then pop one in whatever savouries you're cooking

  2. don't forget to pick off all the tasty chickeny bits to put them in your soup before you boil it up!

  3. Oooh thanks for this, funnily enough I've been musing over home-made stock recently. How do you know how much to use in a recipe where you would have once used 1 shop bought cube? Is it like anonymous says -you put it in ice cube trays, so does one frozen cube equal one shop cube? Or is the frozen more potent...or am I over-complicating things for my small walnut brain?!

  4. Zoe, if you reduce it right down, you'll get a strong stock suitable for ice cubes. The longer you cook it, the stronger it'll get and the more reduced it'll become. We split ours in two and froze half (poured into a freezer bag). That was the perfect amount for making a lot of soup.

    If anyone knows more about stock, feel free to give us more tips!

  5. If you want to make a dark chicken stock, leave the skins on the onions and roast the carcass and veg on 180c for 30-40 until coloured. Then chuck it all in pan with a smidge of tomato puree and carry on as normal. Leave to simmer for 4-6hours, topping up the water if you need to. Don't stir and make sure you skim it and you'll have a really lovely amber coloured stock with bags and bags of flavour, and I think it's a bit more useful.

    I don't know a lot of recipes that ask for a stock cube, they normally specify an amount. But I tend to leave some stock as plain stock, reduce some by half (to a demi-glace), and then really reduce a bit of stock to a real glaze to freeze in ice-cubes, for when I want a hit of flavour without the liquid.

    Hope that helps, making stock is one of my favourite culinary things to do - properly good stock is an art form that should be revered as much as Rob Ryan's cutouts!


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