Chicken broth. The cornerstone of so many great soups, gravies, stir-fry flavourings, one-bowl meals, massive hot pot parties, and tonics for the common cold.
The minimum-fuss way to make this is simply to save the carcass from a roast chicken or turkey dinner (My parents' home in Singapore basks in the golden glow of turkey stock for about a week after Christmas, when we usually work through 4-5 turkeys over the season with various groups of family and friends).
In London, Babs and I got into the habit of buying a whole ~2kg chicken every 2-3 weeks from either Clare's Organics, Sheepdrove Farm or the Stocks Farm stall at Queens Park Farmers Market in London. We'd debone and section the chicken at home, marinate and freeze the meat into 5 meal portions (legs + wings; thighs; individual breasts) then tossing the bones into the stock pot. By the end of the evening there'd be enough stock ready to freeze to last another fortnight. Alternatively, you can buy bags of soup bones from Clare's Organics, and possibly from your local butcher if you call ahead.
This recipe makes about 2 litres stock that's ready for cooking (boil and concentrate further for more efficient freezing. Simply re-add water a little at a time when you're ready to cook)
- 1 large chicken carcass, or 2 smaller carcasses, all skin and fat removed. Some like to roast raw bones for 30 minutes first to get a smokier flavour. Personally I'm indifferent. But roasting the bones will help to melt the fat off the bones before you put it into the stock pot
- A few dashes of garlic powder and paprika
- A couple of bay leaves
- A handful of black peppercorns
- Salt to taste (Add salt when the stock's boiled down so that it's easier to gauge how salty your soup is going to be)
- For a slightly sweet Chinese twang, add a handful of goji berries aka wolf berries
- For a luxurious but optional sweetness, add a handful of dried scallop bits
- Bring about 5 litres of filtered water to a rolling boil, then turn the stove heat down to medium
- Add all the ingredients above to the stock pot
- Wait for the water to start boiling again, turn the heat down to low
- Leave it to simmer for at least 2 hours, preferably up to 6 (I usually work and potter about at the kitchen table for the next few hours, checking occasionally that the soup doesn't dry out)
- If you're tight on time, start with less water (say 3 litres) and wait till at least your entire kitchen smells of chicken stock, usually at the 90 minute mark
- Strain the stock through a sieve, or a muslin cloth if you want to remove the "scum"
- Use for your desired soup, or else let it cool, then portion into ice-cube trays or lock 'n' lock boxes for freezing
- Use frozen stock within 2 weeks