I am excited to share this comforting and nourishing chicken stock recipe with you guys. I grew up with my mum making this nearly on a weekly basis and our fridges + freezers were full of jars and even tea mugs filled with frozen chicken stock. She made it for many occasions, and in times of need – my friends still recall her chicken soup that she would making using a rich stock. After a big night out and a sleepover, she would make this nourishing soup for us to have the next day. I now do the same, especially when autumn comes around and I feel like I want to start my day with some chicken stock, or enjoy a hot cup of chicken stock before dinner time. It is also the base for most of the soul food that I like to cook.
I think that there are only three really necessary ingredients that are needed to make a stock. These are…salt, a whole raw chicken and water…additional ingredients can be added for extra depth of flavour and these are vegetables and herbs that add sweetness and more interesting flavours. Normally I add what I have in the fridge, so that could be carrot, celery, onion, bay leaf, black peppercorns and sometimes parsley roots, stems and leaves, as well as parsnip roots if I have those on hand. I’ve just planted some turnips which I’m hoping i’ll be able to use during winter. In this batch I used one of the yellow carrots that I had leftover – it made the stock a little bit yellow compared to the usual orange hue.
I cook chicken stock for about 3 hours – sometimes more, sometimes less…when it smells, looks, and tastes good – I take it off the heat, keep it covered with a lid and let it cool down. Let the flavours sit altogether for some time – if you are in rush though, you can simply strain the stock straight away and transfer into jars, but I like to leave it for about an hour and only then do I remove the leftover chicken and veg and strain the stock into clean jars. I think 3 hours is a good amount of cooking time because it’s not too little and it’s not too much. If I was using beef or buffalo bones then I would definitely cook it for much longer as the bones are much tougher and it would take longer to get out the flavours, and so on.
When the stock will be refrigerated you will find it turns into a jelly like consistency (once you reheat it, it will become a normal liquid consistency again). I normally keep the jars in the fridge and after a few days put some in the freezer – depends how fast i’m going through the weekly batch. Sometimes I just warm up a cup of chicken stock, crush black pepper into it, a sprinkle of salt if needed and also some fresh parsley or dill if i have some, and have that in the morning, afternoon or before dinner.
Here are some other ways in which you can use chicken stock
- You can use chicken stock as a base for all kinds of soups, to add the depth of flavour. For example in a: creamy potato and cabbage soup, a kimchi noodle stew (i’ve been doing this a lot lately and just using chicken stock as the base and adding in rice noodles, sliced up kimchi, raw mushrooms and so on! Delicious. Another soup that I love is a leafy greens soup with potato and chicken, add some beans or pearly barley for some added texture and flavour.
- Use it in all sorts of stews, for example one of my favourites is a chicken, mushroom, carrot and dill stew – add a spoonful of mustard for some heat.
- Mushroom risottos or any other risottos! for example a cheesy ham and asparagus risotto.
- Spiced chicken curry with potato or mushroom, and chickpeas.
Recipe for Chicken Broth
Prep time 10 minutes
Cooking time 3 and 1/2 hours (but you can cook it for longer if you wish)
1 raw whole chicken (another option is to remove and save the raw chicken breasts in container to use for later – i’ve been doing this recently)
1 large carrot (orange or yellow carrots work well)
1 celery stick (including leaves)
1 onion (peeled)
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp black or mixed pepper corns
generous amount of salt (you can always add more salt at a later stage)
Optional ingredients and flavours that can be added
parsley roots and stems, parsnip or turnip, ginger, garlic, star anise, cloves, sichuan peppercorns
- Rinse the carrot, celery, onion and slice into halves or quarters. Place the vegetables along with the bay leaf, at the bottom of a heavy and large round pot. Rinse the chicken and place it on top of the bed of vegetables. Pour filtered water into the large pot so that it comes nearly all the way to the top and covers the chicken (leaving enough space between the water and the edge of the pot so that it doesn’t spill over whilst cooking). Cover with a lid and bring to the boil.
- Once the water is boiling reduce to a low heat so that the liquid is simmering and use a spoon to skim the surface from the frothy impurities. The impurities normally develop over the first 30 minutes of cooking the stock, so you might need to do this several times. Once you’ve completed this, add the black peppercorns as well as a large pinch of salt. Cover with a lid and reduce to the lowest possible heat and cook for approximately 3 hours (check in with the stock every now and then to see that it is very lightly simmering).
- After 3 hours, taste the stock, season and adjust with any extra salt (otherwise you can also adjust the seasoning at a later stage when you are using the stock).
- Once you are happy with your chicken stock, turn the heat off, close with a lid and let the pot cool down and just sit for a few hours. Remove the chicken and vegetables (keeping the spare chicken meat from the bones – I normally place it into a container so I can use this poached chicken in wraps etc). Strain and transfer into clean jars. Close the jars and place into your fridge or freezer.
- Remove the chicken from the pot after approximately 1 hour – cool slightly and remove all of the chicken meat thats on the bones/carcass. Store the chicken meat in a container and return the chicken bones/carcass back to the pot to continue cooking for the 3 hours (This way the chicken meat is not too over poached – this is up to you though).
- Cook for longer than 3 hours if you would like a really strong stock.