Personally, I love cooking from scratch! Like Tahlia, I love baking my own bread, building sauces from base ingredients, whipping up my own dips, and making cakes and other treats without a packet mix. My sister Hannah and I even made our own pasta once! I mean, I have no qualms with turning to a can of condensed tomato soup or a jar of pasta sauce if a recipe calls for it, but I love the satisfaction of cooking from scratch… not to mention the taste! Plus, I know exactly what has gone into my food, so it’s a healthier way of cooking.
I have been cooking my own chicken stock for a long time now. Even when I was a full-time worker. So I can tell you that anyone has the time to do it! It’s not labour-intensive at all, it fills your freezer with at least a month’s worth of ready-to-go stock, and ugh… the house smells AMAZING while it cooks. Whip it up on a Wintery day, sit on the couch reading a good book while it simmers, and DAMN… you’ve got yourself a little slice of heaven, my friend.
Home-made chicken stock is packed with veggies and herbs, and no salt! This is my favourite bit. I always find store-bought stock far too salty, but this homemade chicken stock is the perfect addition to your soups, risottos, poaching liquids and more.
And I’m not even a health-nut (ie someone who may choose nutritional benefit over flavour), so you can trust me when I say it tastes amazing!
Chicken stock is one of those things you can change to suit you, and it’s really hard to ruin. So have confidence! I started with one recipe years ago and have gradually changed it to suit my cooking style. Feel free to do the same!
Homemade Chicken Stock
Time: 2 hours + chilling overnight
Yield: 10-15 cups of stock (depending on size of saucepan used)
2kg raw chicken frames (chicken off-cuts or even a whole chicken will work too)
1 onion, cut into wedges
4 cloves garlic, smashed a little
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
2 dry bay leaves
1/2 bunch parsley
Handful fresh thyme
1 tsp black peppercorns
- Place chicken frames in the biggest saucepan you’ve got (I use a big pasta pot). Cover with cold water. Place on the stove over high heat and bring to the *almost* boil, scooping off any fatty scum that rises to the surface.
- Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, bay leaves, parsley, thyme and peppercorns to the pot, stirring to combine. Bring back to the boil, continuing to scoop off any scum on the surface.
- Once boiling, lower heat and simmer for 1.5 hours, checking every 30 minutes to ensure the water is still bubbling, and to scoop off any more scum. In the last 30 minutes, top up the water if required.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Place a large colander over a second large saucepan/heatproof bowl/casserole dish/whatever you have. Carefully pour the entire contents of the pot into the colander. Discard the chicken and vegetable scraps (if you chose to use a whole chicken, you could shred the cooked meat and use it for another meal). Run a small strainer/sift through the pot a few times, discarding any sediment.
- Cover with a lid and place in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, there will most likely be a solid layer of fat sitting on the top of the stock. Remove this using an egg flipper and discard it. Give the stock a stir (its texture may be liquid or slightly gelatinous, depending on how much fat was in the chicken). Freeze in 1-cup quantities.