Chicken stock

  • Serves: 2.5litres/5 pints
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 50 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 4 litres/7 pints water
  • 1 whole chicken, without giblets
  • 5 shallots
  • 3 carrots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 1 leek
  • 1 onion
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 parsley sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 tsp. peppercorns
Chicken stock

This recipe for homemade chicken stock is a great way to introduce numerous nutrients and proteins into your diet – without needing to use expensive supplements, or using off the shelf products that may contain Monosodium glutamate (MSG) which as we have all heard can damage your health.

For the price of a small pack of good fresh stock you should be able to make around 2½ litres, or over 5 pints of good, homemade, fresh chicken stock. Don't be alarmed at using a whole chicken, its the skin, bones and connective tissues that impart much of the flavour and substance, and the long, slow cooking draws these out, and the regular skimming of the fat keeps the calorie count down too.

This chicken stock can be used as a foundation for many dishes including; soups, casseroles, sauces, and a good risotto. 

You can safely store this chicken stock in a refrigerator for a few days, or a few months in a freezer – just make sure it's heated through when used as part of other dishes.

Preparation

Peel the shallots and cut all the vegetables into 1cm/½in cubes.

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into large chunks, and add it, and half the garlic (peeled but whole) to a large stockpot, add the water, and bring to a gentle boil.
  2. Skim off any fat that collects on the surface of the water, and then add all the vegetables and herbs – except the parsley, as the boiling would kill its flavour.
  3. Cook for 45 minutes at a simmer, skimming off any fat that collects on the surface regularly.
  4. Add the parsley and let the chicken stock simmer for another minute or two.
  5. Remove the chicken pieces as they can still be enjoyed, and carefully strain the remaining mixture through a cheesecloth-lined colander into a heat-resistant bowl, and leave it to cool at room temperature.
  6. When the chicken stock has cooled skim any residual fat from surface.
  7. The chicken stock can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge or freezer, and used as required.
Stock contains minerals in a form the body can absorb easily-not just calcium but also magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur and trace minerals. It also contains the broken down material from cartilage and tendons – nutrients like chondroitin sulphates and glucosamine – now sold as expensive supplements for arthritis and joint pain.

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