Saturday, 18 December 2010

Chicken stock

So, you've had some chicken and you have bones left over. Soup is on its way.

The more the bones have been cooked, the less useful they'll be in stock. So bones from fast cooked chicken are best, still all are pretty good. You'll find the stock bubbling on the hob the day after a roast in our house. Alongside the carcass, stripped of meat I either include French or Oriental flavours. The principal is the same, add vegetables and flavours, cover the lot with water and bring it to the boil. I usually boil it up for an hour or two, usually in 20m bursts. I find if I try to do it all at once I seem to burn the pan. I'm the only person I've ever met who has managed to oxidise a heavy-based steel saucepan. Talent will out, and most other burnt pans have ended up in the bin, so I recommend Pentole, if you're prepared to fork out the money.

Ingredients for French stock:
chicken carcass
bouquet garni (thyme, rosemary, parsley, bay leaf and garlic - tied up with string, or you can get it in a bag... I sometimes lob in a hearty pinch of dried mixed herbs, it gets strained off after all)
large carrot
onion studded with cloves (three cloves pushed into the whole peeled raw onion)
two litres of water

You might like to add a glass of white wine towards the end of the cooking time, or add half a lemon to the stock.

Ingredients for 'Oriental' stock:
chicken carcass
1" slice ginger, peeled
three cloves garlic
handful of peppercorns
spoonful coriander seeds
bay leaf

This is the basic set of ingredients. Add a bunch of coriander, curry leaves and/or thai basil to tweak the flavour. You could also add five spice ingredients (star anise, cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg - the fifth flavour, ginger, is already included).

Check the link - I've added some words from Ken Lo about gunpowder sauce with a recipe.

place everything in a large casserole and bring to the boil
simmer for about two hours
strain liquid into clean container
chill and use within a week

If you want to freeze the stock, once it is chilled, scrape off the fat, heat again, pour (once cooled) into ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen store in a freezer bag and use within three months.

I also freeze larger amounts in plastic bags sat in a bowl and freeze it like that - obviously this thaws more slowly.

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