I can’t believe that people are charging fourteen bucks a litre for chicken stock. I can’t believe people are paying it! Do you know how much it costs you to make your own? So close to zero I can’t even be bothered working it out. It’ll take maybe ten minutes of your time, and most of that is bagging it. You must make chicken stock!
There’s a zillion recipes for chicken stock on the internet, possibly even a zillion and a half, so you can pick one that looks good to you. Many are a lot fancier than the one I’m making today, but this is your basic add it to couscous or a stirfry stock, although it’s also an excellent soup base.
You need a chicken carcass. You’ll find that you have one if you can’t be bothered cooking and go and get chicken and chips. Or if you’ve roasted a chicken. Save all the bones and skin and bits that people won’t eat in a bowl in the fridge. You’ll also need some flavoursome vegetables, the classic three are celery, carrot and onion. You don’t need to peel them or chop them neatly, and they can be in pretty much any state. The celery I’m using today is the leaves and inner bit of a bunch I bought for the kids to dip into peanut butter. Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it. You can use any limp carrots you find at the bottom of the crisper. You don’t have to peel the onion, just chop it roughly. Put approximately one each of those three veg in a large saucepan (or just the tops of one bunch of celery) and if you’re feeling fancy sautee them in a bit of butter until they have brown bits on them. I really wasn’t in the mood today, so I didn’t. Chuck in the chicken carcass and skin and fill the saucepan about three quarters full of water. Bring to the boil and simmer covered for quite a long time, an hour minimum if you lack planning ability and rather feel like chicken noodle soup for dinner, three or four hours if you’re hanging about the house sewing soldier’s tunics and paying musicians.
You can add other flavours to the stock, today I’ve shaken in some peppercorns and a clove of garlic. I’ve also put in those incredibly desiccated bay leaves that even the nicer spice brands put out, I’m never terribly convinced they’ll add much flavour. About fifteen minutes before you have to go pick up the kids, strain the stock into a large bowl. Leave the bits in the strainer to hang over the bowl to drip while you’re out. When you get home, stick the bowl in the fridge.
The next day you can skim off the fat and bag the stock. I seem to use about half a cup at a time, so I’ll measure half cups into little ziplock freezer bags. Put those in the freezer. If you are that kind of person you can write the date and contents on the bag. Some days I am that person, some days not. Now how easy was that?