You can feel winter in the air here early in Sydney, and boy did it come quick. I absolutely love it! There's nothing like curling up on the couch with a doona, a good book or movie, and a beautiful hot meal at the end of the day.
One of the staples of our winter food is, of course, stock. We use it for soup, risotto, stews, you name it; last year I started making my own chicken stock. The taste compared to store bought stock is lovely, and gives our risottos the most beautiful full flavour.
You may already have most of what you need in the fridge and cupboard already, and it's so easy to make. All you need is a bit of time. Bonus - it's also really cheap to make!
Super-Duper Simple & Easy Chicken Stock
Makes about 2L
- 1 Chicken carcass or 500g of chicken bones/necks
- 2 medium size carrots, chopped roughly (cut each into 2 or 4)
- 2 sticks of celery, chopped roughly, as above. You can leave some leaves on.
- 1 brown onion, halved
- 10 peppercorns
- Bouquet Garni
(to the rest of us, just use a bay leaf, a sprig of parsley, a sprig of thyme, and a sprig of parsley if you have it. Don't worry too much if you're missing 1 or 2, it does help add to the flavour, though. If you can't get these it's not the end of the world if you used a half to 1tspn each of dried).
QUICKLY, BEFORE WE START:
If you're using bones/necks/etc:
This recipe says to use a chicken carcass or bones. Use whatever you can get your hands on, just remember we're after the boney bits (though using drumsticks with meat on is absolutely no problem). I've used necks this time round.
If using a carcass:
If you're using a chicken carcass, a BBQ or roast chicken is fine. Just make sure you remove any leftover skin, pick the bones for meat, and remove the stuffing from the cavity.
- Place all ingredients in a large pot, cover with about 2.5L cold water (just as long as everything is covered), and bring to a light boil. Immediately reduce the heat so the water is barely simmering.
- Reduce heat, cover, and allow to simmer slowly for 3-4 hours. Check from time to time; if froth appears on top, just skim it off with a spoon.
- Pour stock through a strainer to remove vegetables and bones, and voila! You're done!
The stock will keep in the fridge for 2 days, but is fine in the freezer for months, just divide into portions and freeze ahead. It means you always have good quality chicken stock on hand, too! If you do refridgerate it, it will allow any fat to set, and you can skim it off the top before freezing.
Simmer the stock lightly, and don't boil, so we end up with a nice clear stock. Boiling makes it cloudy.
There is another reason making your own is so great: it's REALLY cheap. You can get chicken bones and necks for a couple of dollars a kilo from your butcher, or, if you go up to the deli and butcher section, Coles often have them too.