When possible, I will try to purchase a whole free range chicken rather than pre packaged cuts. There are several reasons for this: i) its cheaper in the long run, ii) I can utilise all the meat and get several meals from one bird and iii) the bones are very useful for making home made stock. Generally, I will save up the raw bones in the freezer until stock making day when they can all come to use. I also will use chicken legs for this if I find them on special, which I do from time to time. The meat doesn’t go to waste, by the way… I am too thrifty for that!
There are several advantages of home made chicken stock. The house will smell SOOO good while you make it. It will have a reduced salt content compared to commercial brands. It wont be as expensive as commercial brands. And possibly more important, you will know every ingredient in your stock. Make it once and experience the difference for yourself.
[ Makes: 4 litres | TIME: 8 hours | COST: $10 ]
10 litres of water
1 kg chicken legs & other chicken bones
2 sticks celery
1 glass white wine
handful fresh parsley with the stems
handful fresh thyme with the stems
4 – 6 cloves of garlic
6 bay leaves
8 – 10 pepper corns
drizzle olive oil
- Cut the carrots in half lengthways and the celery sticks in half. Quarter the onion. Set the vegetables aside with herbs until needed (see photo 1 below).
- In a large deep pot, fry the chicken legs and bones until browned and starting to caramelise. It is good to leave the skin on any bones if possible, as it gives off a lot of flavour (see photo 2 below).
- Once the chicken is browned, de-glaze the pot with the wine, ensuring it is cooked off to remove the alcohol content. Add all of the vegetables and herbs, filling the pot until comfortable capacity with water (photo 3 below). Bring to a boil before reducing the heat to a slow simmer.
- Simmer with the lid off on a low heat for 2 hours. During this time, skim off the froth that forms on top with a slotted spoon.
- If you have used cuts of chicken, remove them from the pot, and allow to cool. Strip the meat off the bones at this point, reserving the meat for other recipes (soups, stews, stir fries ect).
- Return the bones and skin to the pot and continue to simmer for another six hours. When the water has reduced by half, take off the heat and allow to cool.
- Once cook, strain through a muslin cloth to remove the herbs, vegetables and bones.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, or freezer for up to 3 months.
- I adore the smell of this cooking. It reminds me of authentic home cooking, just like Nana use to do!
- I am quite heavy handed on the thyme cause I just adore this herb of late. Garlic I cant live without so it is always present in large amounts. (This is possibly why we haven’t been sick in this household for three years!) Adjust the herbs to your own taste.
- Diabetic Note: I skim the fat off the top of this a lot while it is cooking cause I am a little worried about how much fat gets leached into the broth from the skins. If you are concerned about your fat content, just skin the oil slick off the top of the pan occasionally with either paper towel or a spoon.
- Ethics Note: Far too much gets wasted during the boning process of chickens. I prefer to buy a whole bird and bone it out. When I do, I always save the back bones and hips particularly as there is a lot of difficult to use flesh there that is often wasted. Likewise, when I bone out legs for some leg meat (which I use for soups and stews for economic reasons), I save the raw bones for this purpose. Think thrifty, and try to use as much of the bird as possible.