Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.
What Do You Make With Chicken Stock?
There are so many recipes of so many different types that call for the inclusion of chicken stock. We may be talking about soups, casseroles, risottos, or a great many others, but how often do you actually prepare your own stock? Are you one of the probably ninety-plus percent who will buy pre-made chicken stock . . . or even worse, resort to one of those disgusting, chemically-enhanced cubes that have no more chicken in them than lamb?
I hope here to show you and convince you how easy it is to prepare perfect chicken stock, essentially as a by-product of preparing another meal. Use it as you make it or freeze it for up to three months in batches—the choice is yours. Once you have tasted real chicken stock, however, I hope and believe that you will never again settle for less.
Do You Have a Stock Pot?
It is clear that in order to make chicken or any other kind of stock, you will have to have a stockpot or a large pot that can be used for the purpose. I can verify that the stockpot I've linked you to will last you for years and through hundreds of stock preparations, making it a more than valuable addition to your kitchen tools and equipment.
How to Make Healthy Chicken Stock
The secret to making the perfect healthy chicken stock is very much in keeping it simple. Resist temptations such as, "Oh, that herb may add a little bit extra to it!" or, "What if I add a little pinch of this to spice it up a little?" Any such additions can be made to the recipe you subsequently prepare with the stock. The stock should be thought of as a base ingredient—never a finished article. That is why there is quite deliberately no seasoning included in this recipe.
- One free-range, organic chicken
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk of celery
- 1 small onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Boiling water
1. Roughly chop the vegetables as shown in the picture to the right. Add the chicken and the chopped vegetables to a large soup pan and pour in enough boiling water to come within an inch of the rim. Bring back to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer as gently as possible for one hour, carefully turning the chicken halfway through cooking.
2. After this time, remove the chicken from the pan with a couple of spatulas and leave for one hour to cool. It can subsequently be used as required but I leg to cut off each wing, leg and thigh and carefully slice off each breast fillet by feeling with and guiding my knife down either side of the breast bone. Any remaining scraps of meat can be picked off by hand.
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3. Very importantly, return the main part of the carcass to the pot, cover and leave to cool completely.
4. The next step is to take a large spoon or ladle and carefully skim the impurities from the top off the stock. Try not to stir it in the process of doing this. Next, remove the carcass and the vegetable pieces with a slotted spoon and discard.
5. The final step in preparing our perfect chicken stock is to strain it through some fine cloth, such as muslin or even a clean tea towel.
I hope you will try this out for yourself and find out just what a difference real chicken stock makes to any recipe which calls for it.