24.2.14

Basic Homemade Chicken Stock

Homemade Chicken Stock is and should be a building block of every cook's repertoire of recipes. I know buying the pre-made ones from the supermarket is real convenient and a mega time-saver, but making it from scratch is a lot easier than you'd think. And, a big plus is that homemade stock greatly reduces the amount of preservatives in your food.

I've set out below a very basic stock recipe, sans salt or herbs, so it goes with EVERYTHING. You can opt to add your preferred aromatics (some like to add bay leaves and/or thyme for a western slant, while Asians prefer sweet wolfberries and dried seafood such as conpoy, and herbs such as huai shan and dangshen) and salt accordingly when cooking.

Ingredients:
5 whole chicken carcasses
1 onion, cut to 1 inch dice
2 carrots, diced to 1 inch cubes
2 celery ribs, cut to 1 inch dice
3 cloves garlic, smashed


Directions:
1) Heat olive oil in wok, and fry the chicken carcasses till browned. Or else, use the bones of a leftover Sunday roast as a starting point. Roasting/Frying the chicken yields a bolder, more intense flavour.

2) When chicken is browned, transfer to stock pot.

Alternatively, you can also roast the carcasses in the oven at 218 degrees celsius for 35 minutes until golden brown. Brush them in a little olive oil to really bring out the flavour.

3) Use the remaining oil and chicken drippings to fry garlic until fragrant.

4) Then add onions and fry till translucent.

5) And lastly, add carrots and celery and fry for 5 minutes.

6) Add the mirepoix (the vegetable mixture of celery, carrots, onions and garlic) to the browned chicken in the stock pot.

7) Add 7L of water to cover the entire mixture and bring to boil before simmering it for 3-4 hours.

8) Check on the stock every half hour to skim the grey-ish scum that floats to the top. Refill the water accordingly.

9) Strain before use. The resultant liquid should colour golden.

10) For use up to a week later, store in fridge, in containers of varying volumes.  This way, you can just use the amount you need, without touching the rest of the stock.

- If storing stock up to a month, simmer another 2 hours to reduce the stock to a concentrate, and strain it before freezing it in ice-cube trays for use later.

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