How to make chicken stock

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Bringing her school teaching background and love of food, Becky Thorn lives by making delicious meals from scratch as much as possible. Here she shares some tips on how to make your very own chicken stock.

I know, I know, I like to bang on about not wasting food but not using up the leftover chicken carcass from Sunday’s roast to make stock would be a crime!

Chicken stock is so often an essential component of many of the meals we make; why not effectively create your own for free from leftover roast chicken? There’s something rather wonderful about having a big bowl of jellified chicken stock in my fridge - I don’t have to look for a cube and I’m in control of exactly what the stock contains. I’m going to share how I make my stock, if your method differs please add a comment then we can all help each other. 

How to make a basic chicken stock

1 chicken carcass, large pieces of meat and skin removed.

1 onion peeled and halved

2 carrots, topped and tailed and halved

1 celery stalk, or a few celery tops

1 tsp black peppercorns, cracked gently with the edge of a knife 

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Place all the above ingredients into a large pan, cover with water until the carcass is barely covered with water. Slowly bring to a simmer and then turn the heat down to allow the stock to continue cooking gently. Leave for several hours. I usually start at lunchtime so that the stock is ready for tea if I need it. Between 3 and 6 hours is ideal to infuse all the flavours and create a rich and delicious stock. When ready, strain the liquid into a bowl, leave to cool, skim any chicken fat from the surface and refrigerate in a covered bowl. Use within 48 hours, or freeze the stock in tubs or freezer bags.

Making stock cubes

You can also make your own stock cubes by reducing down the stock until it is a third of the original volume. The best way to do this is to make a rich gelatinous stock in the usual way, and return it to a large pan to reduce down at a gentle boil. Pour the thick stock into ice cube trays or ice cube bags and freeze. I deliberately don’t salt my stock as I like to season when in the final recipe.  

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How to use chicken stock for cooking 

Chicken stock and any leftover shredded chicken can be used to make a warming soup easily and economically. Chicken stock is so versatile. If you want to use the stock in a Thai recipe, simmer your stock with ginger, garlic and lemon grass as flavourings. The resulting stock will perk up a Thai red chicken curry brilliantly! 

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About Becky

Becky is a forty-something year old part-time primary school teacher and author of 'The No Waste Meal Planner', 'School Dinners' and 'Movie Dinners'. She appeared on Masterchef Goes Large in 2007 as a guest restaurant critic and has designed a meal for Heinz Weight Watchers. She lives with her husband and two children in the UK. 

For more inspired recipes, check out Becky's blog ‘Mint Custard’ or follow her on Twitter @schooldinners.

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