Nutritious, delicious home-made stock
We all know how good chicken broth is for our bodies, and for our souls: a bowl of steaming broth is the stuff of folk legend! It’s simple and humble yet super delicious and very, very good for you.
Home-made stock ticks all the boxes: it’s healthy, boosts the flavour in a variety of meals and reduces food waste by putting kitchen scraps to good use. Meat stocks are particularly beneficial because long, gentle cooking draws the minerals out of bone, cartilage and marrow, as well as developing electrolytes and gelatin. Adding a little acid, in the form of vinegar or wine, assists in this process.
Scraps to save for the stock pot
– Vegetable trimmings from non-starchy colourless veg such as carrots peels, mushroom stems and even onion skins. Don’t add potato or red cabbage, for example! Make sure everything is immaculately clean and appropriate to whatever you plan on using your stock to make: sheared corn cobs, for example, make a great addition to the stock pot if you’re making chicken and corn soup… but not so great if you’re making beef daube stew!
– Bones from cooked or raw meat, such as roast chicken carcasses
Basic Chicken Stock
1 organic chicken (cleaned, about 1.6 kg) or 1.5 kg boney chicken pieces (such as neck & wings)
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
2 sticks celery, coarsely chopped
1 onion, peeled & coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, bruised with the side of a knife
the stalks from a bunch of parsley
1 tsp black peppercorns
a pinch or two of sea salt never salt your stock ‘to taste’ until you serve it, in whatever form that may be: if you end up reducing the stock it will be unpalatable
plus any kitchen ‘scraps’ you’ve saved!
1. Prepare the chicken by trimming and discarding the fat glands just inside the cavity. Remove the wings and legs and divide them at the joints with a heavy knife. Cut the body into 6 approximately equal pieces and place in a large stock pot.
2. Add the vinegar, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, parsley, peppercorns, salt and scraps. Cover with cold water, so that the ingredients are submerged by about 5 centimetres, then bring to the boil and adjust heat to a steady simmer. Skim the surface. Cook for 6 to 12 hours, skimming the surface every hour and making sure the water covers the ingredients at all times: the longer you cook it the richer it will be.
3. Turn the heat off and allow to cool a bit. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and reserve meat for another use (chicken soup is the pick of course, but poached chicken is also fabulous in salads, sandwiches, wraps, omelettes etc.). Carefully strain the stock and discard solids, then cool completely in the refrigerator. Remove the congealed fat from the surface and transfer stock to containers. It will keep in your fridge for about five days, but should be frozen if it’s to be kept longer than that: freeze appropriate quantities in glass jars (only fill them about 3/4 full) and label.
– Use stocks as the base for soup, risotto and stew
– Reduce stocks and use them to make rich, nutritious gravies and sauces
– Cook rice and grains by the absorption method in stock
– Drink a cup plain to warm up and promote good health