How to cook stock
(at time of publication)
- 1 chicken carcass
- 1 onion, roughly chopped
- 1 carrot, roughly chopped
- 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
- 2 mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch fresh herb sprigs such as parsley, rosemary, thyme
- 6 peppercorns
1 Break carcass into smaller pieces and place in a large pan. Add 2 litres cold water and bring to the boil. With a slotted spoon, remove any scum from surface of stock.
2 Add vegetables and flavourings. Half cover pan, reduce heat to very low, and simmer gently for 2 hours until stock is reduced by half.
3 Remove pan from heat and strain stock, discarding bones and vegetables. Leave stock to cool before skimming off any fat which rises to the surface.
- Beef stock: For a meat stock, use chopped raw beef bones. Avoid lamb bones as these give an unpleasant flavour.
- Vegetable stock: To make 1 litre vegetable stock, place 750g chopped fresh vegetables (such as onion, carrot, leek and celery) in a large pan with a selection of fresh herbs tied together with string. Add 1.5 litres cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and cover for 1 1/2 hours until reduced by half. Remove pan from heat, strain stock, and discard vegetables. Leave to cool. Store in the fridge for up to four days.
- You will get the best flavour if you use a raw chicken carcass plus the giblets, but a recently cooked roast chicken carcass works well, too.
- If using parsley in your stock, use the stalks as well as the heads (the stalks have more flavour in them).
- Take your time – chicken stock needs long, slow cooking in order to extract as much flavour as possible from the bones. The same goes for meat stock, too.
- Vegetable stocks can be made more quickly. For extra flavour you can add a bouquet garni – a bunch of herbs such as rosemary, thyme and parsley tied together.
- Stock can be frozen for up to three months – save in 1-cup quantities in ziplock bags. It is best to reduce the stock (rapid-boil stock once bones and vegetables have beern removed) to get a concentrated stock for freezing. Frozen stock can be defrosted or reheated straight from frozen, but should be simmered for at least 10 minutes.
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