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Chicken stock

By April 05, 2016 , ,

I was asked by a friend for this recipe as they seemed to think that stock making is some complicated process. Where it lacks in complexity, it doesn't in the time it takes to make.

When I trained at Leiths school of Food and Wine in London it was an even longer and more drawn out process. You had to take care with the stock making to make sure it was free of impurities and also nice and clear. You also spent hours watching it and then another hour or so reducing it. Well I kinda gave up on that years ago as there's only so many times you can say to people, "sorry I can't come out, I'm making stock", yes really!

When making stock it will take a couple of days or one whole day depending on how much time you've set aside for it. So the process hasn't got any shorter but I tend to worry less about the stock being cloudy these days (apologies to my former teachers at Leiths). It's also something you can leave simmering away while you get on with other stuff as you don't need to stand guard over it all day.

My trick to stock making is to save up chicken carcasses from roast dinners or when I've boned or jointed a chicken and also save up bones from wings, drumsticks and thighs when you have them. And no that doesn't apply to bones from fast food outlets, please don't even consider those!!!! I keep these bones in the freezer until such time as I have a few carcasses to hand for stock. Whole chicken wings are also good (about 1kg), if you don't have carcasses. It doesn't have to be just chicken, any bird such as guinea fowl, duck (make sure you remove any skin) will do.


Take 1 large 10 litre stock pot or a pot as big as you have to hand and in it place the following

2-3 chicken carcasses or 1kg chicken wings (I roast off the wings for about 20 mins at 180c before putting them in with the water and veg) or both if you so wish
1 onion roughly sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 leek roughly sliced into 1 inch pieces
2 sticks celery roughly sliced into 1 inch pieces
1 large carrot roughly sliced into 1 inch pieces
2 bay leaves
Sprig of thyme
5 or 6 parsley stalks
Half sheet of konbu or 10g dillisk (optional)
5 shiitake mushrooms (optional)
I sometimes add a pigs foot to the stock as it gives a good gelatinous consistency to the stock.

Fill the pot with water until it's about 2-3 inches from the top
Now bring the stock to the boil, and lower the heat so it is at a very low simmer
At this stage add about 500ml of water this will help bring any impurities to the top, and skim off any fat and impurities that rise to the top
Continue to simmer for about 6 hours, skimming of any fat occasionally
The next process is reducing the stock to get more flavour, in order to do this you need to remove all the veg and bones
At this stage I like to add 100g button mushrooms (they help to soak up excess fat from the stock) 
Now bring the stock liquid up to the boil and continue to do so until the liquid has reduced by half
Make sure to taste as you're reducing, you don't want a too powerful flavor, but just enough background chicken note
Allow the stock to cool, remove the mushrooms and discard. 

Decant into freezer bags or tubs or even an ice cube tray for later use, this stock freezes well

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