live life, celebrate food, share both with those you love

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Let's make Chicken Stock - it's easy, I promise!

Pot full of goodness!
My poor little poppet has been sick for weeks... It's that time of year unfortunately... Silly winter! Plus she's 18 months old so her little body is trying to build up an immune system, not much fun for anyone.

As much as I believe in Western medicine (to a point...) I also believe in nourishing your body with quality food and plenty of rest when the evil lurgies come around to knock you on you bum. (can I say bum?)

This is why I've started making my own chicken stock, so that I can make my East Meets West Chicken Noodle Soup for my little MissC. We all know chicken noodle soup just seems to make us feel better. By making my own stock, I know that my little one is getting as many nutrients as possible and she seems to love the stuff. Even when she's feeling absolutely rotten, she'll happily drink some plain stock with a handful of soba noodles.

The thought of making my own stock always scared me. Surely it must be laborious and complex? But I swear, it's not! It's so simple and ridiculously easy to make, now I can't stop making it.

1 whole raw chicken, washed under cold running water (cut into pieces is fine but keep the bones in and the skin on)
1 large brown onion, skin on, ends cut off
1-2 heads of garlic, skin on, root cut off
2 carrots, cut in half
2 sticks of celery, cut in thirds
2 tomatoes, cut in half (Roma are preferred)
10 peppercorns
1 tsp salt flakes
5 springs parsley
Optional - Bay leaf or bouquet garni

How to...
- first you will need a BIG pot! Large enough to fit in all the ingredients and a few liters of water.
- next simply throw everything into the pot and add enough cold water to just cover.
- bring the stock to the boil, then turn down low to simmer for an hour. You may like to turn the chicken after half an hour if you are worried about part of it sticking out of the water.
- once the hour is up, carefully lift out the chicken onto a board using tongs. (we'll strip the meat later to make  my East Meets West Chicken Noodle Soup and Sour Cream Enchiladas)
- strain the vegetables out of the stock and discard. They've done their job, all their goodness is now in the beautiful golden liquor in front of you... So many possibilities!
- you will need to add salt at this point, probably up to 2 tsps. Don't be afraid of this, there's a lot of liquid so this will require a fair amount if salt. Add 1/2 tsp at a time and taste.
- you're done! This will keep in your fridge for about 3 days, or pop into individual containers/ziplock bags and store in your freezer up to 6 months.

- leave the lid off! If you put the lid on, your stock will be cloudy.
- a 'bouquet garni' is a little bunch of mixed fresh herbs which will infuse the stock whilst it's brewing. Feel free to make your own, or you can buy ready made options in the fresh herb section of your local supermarket.