I take great pride for making most things from scratch. I would say a general rule is that homemade is always much tastier and healthier, whatever it is. Please don’t be put off making your own chicken stock even though it does take quite a while to make; after the initial steps it won’t need much attention from you, and you can use the remaining cooking time doing other things. The absolute key to a good, flavoursome stock is bones. You must, must, must use chicken on the bone, and for richer flavour you do also want to ensure you have some meat. I usually use couple of chicken legs and some wings. Once the cooking of the stock is finished, you can remove the meat off the bone and use it for other meals. Once cooled, I freeze the stock in portion sizes. Since I started making my own stock, I hardly ever use shop bought ones anymore, those are now in my cupboard merely for back up for when I’ve run out of my own.
2 chicken legs (~650g)
~450g chicken wings
3 liters water
1 celery stick, chopped into big pieces
1 carrot, chopped into big pieces
1 medium onion
~15 black peppercorns
4 garlic cloves
3 bay leaves
1 tsp sea salt
I sometimes make a Chinese variation, and replace the celery, carrot, onion, peppercorns and bay leaves (use the other remaining ingredients) with
1 thumb size piece of root ginger, sliced
4 spring onions
1. First, place the chicken and water in a large pot, and bring to simmer. Bare in mind that for the best results, the stock shouldn’t boil at any stage, only simmer.
2. ‘Scum’ will start coming to the surface of the stock. Keep skimming this away, however don’t stir or disturb the stock otherwise. I use a slotted spoon for this. At this stage, it’s important to give the stock attention.
3. Once there is no more scum rising to the top (this can take about half an hour), you can add all other ingredients. Then cover with lid, and set the temperature to a low simmers, making sure it doesn’t boil. Cook for 3 hours.
4. Strain the stock through a sieve. I tend to also use muslin, to get rid of even finer impurities.
5. Let the stock cool, and chill in the fridge. Once chilled, remove any fat that has hardened on top. You can then use or freeze the stock.