Super Simple Stock

It’s a drizzly, grey Monday and maybe I’m just trying to find ways to put off the daily walk but it’s feeling like a stock making kind of day. Chicken stock or any stock for that matter is one of those things I was a bit intimidated by at first. I’m not sure if it was because of terms like bouquet garni or the use of a muslin cloth but I thought it all sounded like a bit of a faff for something that was very easily bought from the shop or made from a cube. Then I made my own stock for the first time. It really is so so simple and the difference in the depth of flavour you get in a soup, gravy or risotto when you use homemade stock is incredible and well worth that little bit of effort.

Monday is the perfect stock making day because like many families we love a good Sunday Roast and there is no better way to make the most out of the leftover roast chicken or leg of lamb, then by using the carcass and bones to make a stock. You can of course just use vegetables plus stock freezes really well. I’ve put the basic recipe for a chicken stock below but it really doesn’t matter if you don’t follow the recipe for stock to the tee. I tend to switch things in and out depending on what I have in the fridge/what might be going to waste. I also picked up a tip to put peelings in the stock too -so carrot peelings, white onion peelings from prepping the roast dinner, and also a tomato (with a cross made in the skin at the top, to stop it popping). All of these things add flavour and by playing around a bit you can make stocks that are clearer or darker in colour and to your taste. There’s no right or wrong, its just about “slow and low” simmering to bring out all the amazing flavours from the roasted meat and vegetables – ready to add depth of flavour in lots of other dishes. You do want to avoid having bits in the stock so a fine mesh sieve or even a muslin cloth if you happen to have one is the best way to strain the liquid through, but other than that its a free for all so get experimenting with stock options – if you’re planning on using in a festive meal for example, you could add a clove or some star anise.

Ingredients

Makes approximately 1 litre of stock

  • Roast chicken carcass, meat removed
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 leek cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 garlic clove garlic, bashed
  • Small bunch of parsley stalks
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Method

Put all the ingredients into a large stock pot or the biggest saucepan you have. Add around 2 litres of cold water (enough to cover all of the ingredients).

Bring to a boil on a high heat, then reduce to a medium heat and simmer, half covered for at least 3 hrs. The stock will reduce and the flavours will become concentrated. If you prefer a lighter, less intense stock then leave covered whilst simmering so that the liquid does not evaporate.

Once you’re happy with the colour/depth of flavour, turn off the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes before carefully straining into a container or bowl.

Cool completely before pouring into storage containers. The stock will keep in the fridge for about a week or up to three months in the freezer.

And there it is, super simple stock that is sure to take any soup, gravy, stew or risotto to the next level.

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