How to Make Chicken StockDecember 12, 2016
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While we’d never turn up our nose at store bought liquid or stock cubes, homemade chicken stock really is unmatchable in flavour. At Christmas time, we love it to whip up a really delicious gravy, and of course it’s a brilliant way to use up your leftovers as well. Waste not, want not, as we always say!
Wondering what to do with that leftover Christmas chicken? Instead of throwing your carcass away simply place it in a large, deep-bottomed pan with a little olive oil, a pinch of salt and a good grind of black pepper, or several whole peppercorns. Allow to brown a little on a low heat. Chop five sticks of celery, two carrots, two onions (really any root vegetable will do, and leftover roast veg is perfectly acceptable). Add tomatoes and mushrooms for extra richness in the stock, top with your favourite herbs – we like sprigs of fresh rosemary, sprigs of thyme and bay leaves. Finally, add six litres of water.
Now, the easy part. Simply bring the water to a boil, skim, and then reduce to a simmer. Let the stock simmer for three to four hours, skimming when necessary. You’ll know your stock is ready when all the veg is drained of colour and very soft. Give it a taste – if it seems a little less flavoursome and more watery, it’s perfect (remember, when cooking with stock it will reduce, so you don’t want to liquid to be too salty).
While your restorative chicken stock simmers we suggest reading a book to aid in the nourishment of your brain as well. Have you made your way through the Guardian’s best books for summer?
Once your chicken stock is ready, skim the surface one last time before pouring the stock through a fine sieve. Allow thirty minutes for your stock to cool before placing it in the refrigerator.
With your homemade chicken stock in the fridge, you can add it risottos, couscous, polenta, marinara sauce, soups, and of course, the perfect Christmas gravy. Way to turn your Christmas trash into treasure!