My chicken stock stocks had run low, so this past weekend I hunted and gathered — and came home with a bountiful supply of bones and vegies to cook up a storm. Store-bought stock cannot compare with home-made. It provides the base to so many delicious recipes: from slow-cooked stews, to soups and risotto’s. (Mmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!). So, here’s my recipe for fool-proof stock (keep in mind that these quantities are for a big ‘ol cook-up. If you don’t want three pots on the go, then adjust accordingly):
- 8 chicken carcasses I put two in each of my smaller pots, and four in my biggest. Alternatively, you can take out a carcass or two and put in a whole chicken. Then you’ll have flavoursome poached chicken to use however you desire — chicken and sweetcorn soup, shredded into risotto, etc etc.
- 2-3 brown onions, peeled and quartered
- 3 carrots (no need to peel), roughly sliced into thick discs
- head of one celery I use the big leafy part at the top of the celery. The leaves have a lot of flavour.
- couple of bay leaves, dry or fresh
- 2-3 parsnips, roughly sliced
- pinch of whole peppercorns
- pinch of salt
Fill the pots with cold water, then simmer for several hours. You’ll know the stock is ready when it is a beautiful golden colour and tastes delicious. Strain into bowls (reserve the vegies — the dogs love them! But be careful not to give them any onion, peppercorns or chicken bones) and allow to cool before putting in the refrigerator. After they’ve had time to chill, you’ll notice a layer of fat sitting on the top. You should be able to easily skim this off with a spoon. The stock should now be a wobbly jelly consistency. This makes four litres. I measure two cups into each container, and stow away in the freezer, ready to defrost and use at a moments notice. Yum! For a deeper colour and different flavour, you can roast your vegies and bones in a hot-ish oven for an hour or so before boiling in water. You can use the same recipe for beef stock, just replace the chicken carcasses with beef bones from your butcher.
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