Yesterday I did something that I’ve never done before. I made my own stock. I know that is a terrible admission to make, especially as I consider myself to somewhat of a cook and presume to write a blog on the subject. How dare I when I don’t even make my own stock??? I had recently been feeling guilty about this fact after reading Nigel Slater’s Real Food book where he says, “Only the wasteful will fail to make a broth of the bones.” What a reproach. I had been told and felt it dearly; I was heartily ashamed of myself. Was I wasteful? Ought I to be faithfully boiling up my leftover bones every time I bung a weekday roast chicken in the oven? Should I be shunned eternally by the foodie community as an imposter and a fake? Feeling disheartened and dismayed, I consulted the oracle.
This is what Jamie had to say on the matter: “Stock is usually one of those things that even chefs don’t have time for at home.” Hurrah! Sweet validation! Redemption! So now, feeling less guilty and harassed, when I read with interest the Amateur Gourmet’s recent post where he used his own stock to make minestrone soup (http://www.amateurgourmet.com/2010/02/made-up_minestrone.html) instead of feeling somewhat flustered and inadequate, I felt inspired and motivated. I was going to make my own stock, and then what’s more, I was going to use said stock to make something else. The end result would be completely my own creation, no help from anyone else (apart from the supermarket who would provide all the ingredients, ack!).
Cut to this Sunday: after gorging on roast chicken, instead of collapsing fatly on the sofa to let Sven do the washing up, I collected all the bones and got to making my very own stock. And what a revelation. It was so easy and really very satisfying too (if you’re into that kind of thing). You just bung everything in a big pot, add a few litres of water, let it simmer away for a few hours and lo and behold, you’re left with a very passable chicken stock. It’s probably not as good as making stock from raw carcass, but I’m afraid that really is beyond my efforts at the moment. For now, I am a leftover-roast-chicken-carcass-stock-convert and I think that Nigel Slater would be proud. Now, what to make with my stock?
- 1 leftover roast chicken carcasses, preferably free-range, legs or wings chopped
- a few large cloves of garlic, unpeeled and bashed
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1 large carrot, unpeeled and roughly chopped
- a couple of bay leaves
- a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
- A handful of fresh parsley
- 4 whole black peppercorns
- 3-4 litres cold water (depending how big your pan is).
Simply place the chicken carcass and everything else into a large, deep-bottomed pan, add the cold water and bring to the boil. Then turn down the heat and simmer, skimming occasionally, for 3-4 hours. Then pass through a fine sieve (I put some kitchen paper in my sieve so that it caught any little teeny bits). Allow to cool for half an hour or so, then place in the fridge until any remaining fat has risen to the surface. Skim again then put in a container and freeze (or if you’re planning to use it within 2 or 3 days put in the fridge).