Chicken stock is excellent to have on hand for many uses from soup to risotto. Gravy, casseroles and curries also benefit from the addition of good quality stock. You can approach making stock in a few ways. The easiest is to use chicken bones. Alternatively use chicken pieces or even a whole chicken as I usually do (and is shown in these photos). The benefit of using a whole chicken is you get a full flavoured stock plus a beautifully poached chicken for other uses.
1 kg (2 lb) chicken bones or 1 x 1.5kg whole chicken
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
A few whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves, if available
2–3 litres (1 1/2–2 1/2 pt) water
Place bones or whole chicken in a large pot. Add vegetables, peppercorns, herbs and water, and bring to the boil.
Remove any scum that appears on the surface, reduce to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. If using a whole chicken it can come our now or it will be overcooked. Chill the cooked chicken for future use.
If using chicken bones the stock can simmer for another hour if time allows.
Strain the stock and press down hard on the ingredients to extract all the flavour.
When stock has cooled slightly, refrigerate to allow fat to set on the surface.
Skim fat off the surface and the stock is ready to use.
Makes 1–2 litres.
Variations on chicken stock
Asian chicken stock
Add 3 cm (1 in) root ginger, sliced, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 sliced lemongrass stalk and, optionally, a sliced chilli or two.
Rich chicken stock
Place the bones in a baking tray and roast in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F) for 30–40 minutes, turning once or twice until golden brown and draining excess oil off occasionally. The bones can then be added to the vegetables and herbs and cooked in the usual way.
Use the same quantities of duck bones as directed in the chicken stock recipe, and roast them as described for rich chicken stock. This stock can also be reduced to 250 ml (8 fl oz) for an amazing rich sticky duck sauce.
Use the same quantities of turkey bones as for chicken stock, and roast them as directed for rich chicken stock. This stock can also be reduced to 250 ml (8 fl oz) for an amazing rich sticky turkey sauce.