Homemade chicken stock is one of my essentials for home cooking. I strive to always have some in the freezer. Chicken stock is easy and cheap to make (but expensive to buy!) and it fills your home with the most lovely, homely smell when its cooking. You’ll really notice the difference in the flavour of soups, risottos, polenta, cous cous, sauces, casseroles… the list just goes on.
3-4 chicken carcasses (buy them at any chicken shop, they usually sell you a bag of about three for just a dollar or two)
3 chicken wings (adding these gives a depth of flavour, and helps make the stock gelatinous. I’m indebted to the woman from the Queen Vic chicken shop – the corner one – for this tip)
1 leek, washed and roughly sliced
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, chopped into 3-4 pieces each
3 stalks celery, chopped into 3-4 pieces each (always use the inner yellow leaves too, they are full of flavour)
1 parsnip, chopped into 3-4 pieces
3 fresh bay leaves, scrunched a bit to release the flavour
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, slightly crushed in a pestle & mortar
4-5 litres of cold water.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Place the chicken carcasses and wings in a baking dish and bake until golden, about half an hour.
Put the carcasses and all other ingredients into a large stock pot, place on the stove and pour over the water. Bring to the boil, simmer on a very low heat for 3-4 hours.
When cooled a little, drain the liquid, discarding the other ingredients. Refrigerate overnight (you’ll probably need to do this in a few different bowls or jugs). The next day, skim the fat off the top. Pour into smaller containers and freeze.