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Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Chicken Stock

A good stock is an essential!  It may not be glamorous but for great sauces you will notice how much a home made stock will improve the taste and texture.  A simple chicken stock such as this one need not take hours to produce but will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days and can be used in a variety of ways.  I use a chicken stock in pasta dishes and in sauces to accompany both meat and fish dishes.  A good chicken stock is also much lighter in a sauce than a beef stock.

Ingredients;
2 whole chicken carcasses broken up plus any chicken wing tips if available
1 onion roughly chopped
2 carrots
3 cloves garlic
1 stick celery
2-3 bay leaves
50 g flour
1 1/2 litres cold water

Put everything except the flour and water in a heavy bottomed saucepan and fry off with a little oil.  Once the chicken starts to take on a little colour stir in the flour then add the water.  I normally add about a quarter of the water first and de-glaze the bottom of the pan.  Then pour in the rest of the water.  It is important to always use cold water when making stocks - warm water will make the stock go cloudy.

Bring the stock to the boil and simmer for an hour to an hour and a half.  During the simmering you can skim some fat off the top.

Strain the stock into a suitable container and refrigerate until ready to use.  You may find once the chicken stock has cooled that there is a layer of  fat on the top - just scrape this off before using.  Ideally your chicken stock should resemble a soft jelly.
Tips; the more you brown the chicken at the start, the browner the stock will be at the end.  Some people like to stir in some tomato paste to strengthen the flavour.  Try adding mushroom stalks to the mix, it will adjust the flavour.  Leave the flour out to make a gluten free stock.