Updated: Apr 6, 2020
Home made chicken stock is extremely nutritious, delicious and easy to make. Properly made, stock is full of minerals from bone and marrow, in a form that is easy for the body to assimilate. It also boosts immunity, fights inflammation and aids digestion. Pre-packaged stock or stock cubes are no comparison!
I use this stock as a base for a variety of dishes, such as osso bucco, lamb shanks, or cabbage noodles. Sometimes I swap the chicken frames for beef bones if I want to use beef stock to complement a beef dish, but usually I'll just use what I have and mix flavours (ie, use chicken stock for lamb shanks).
Health benefits aside, here's three other excellent reasons to make chicken stock at home.
First, it takes minutes to put on and it simmers all day. It smells delicious, and there's something about a huge stock pot on the stove that makes you feel warm and cosy. It's perfect for a wintery day when you're around the house.
Second, it's cheap as chips. Honestly, I can't believe how much it costs to buy a generic packet of 500 ml of liquid stock. Check the ingredients - most of the time, it's full of flavours that may taste like chicken stock, but are far from it. For the quality range, you'll pay a hefty amount - you could make litres upon litres for a fraction of the cost.
Third, it makes all meals taste 10 x better.
To prepare, it's really just three simple steps:
Home made chicken stock
A silky chicken stock to use as a base for a variety of slow cooked meals
Prep time: Under 10 minutes
Cook time: 7 + hours
Difficulty: Fail proof
Chicken frames, two bags
4 carrots, roughly chopped
Half a bunch of celery, roughly chopped
2 large brown onions, roughly chopped
2 tbsps vinegar (I use white, or apple cider)
Combine chicken bones, carrots, celery and onion in a large stock pot.
Add cold tap water to fill the pot about 3/4 full.
Add vinegar (this helps to draw the minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, from the bones into the stock)
Bring to a boil and then reduce heat, cover and simmer for at least 6 hours.
Add a bunch of fresh parsley 10 minutes before you turn off the heat (this will impart additional minerals to the stock).
Strain the stock and distribute into 600 ml - 1 L containers.
Refrigerate for 24 hours.
A layer of fat and scum will form on top of the stock. Remove and discard this (tip - it's easier to do this now rather than skim the stock while it cooks).
Freeze and defrost when ready to use.
You don't want to boil the stock, just simmer it. If the heat on your stove is too hot, you can use a simmer mat to buffer the heat. I picked one up at my local kitchen supplies store.
A word of warning - it can be a bit messy to strain and distribute the stock. I use a second pot to strain the stock into and have plenty of paper towel on hand.
If you have used enough bones and cooked the stock for the right amount of time, the stock should be wobbly the next day rather than liquid. This is due to the gelatin released by simmering the bones for many hours.
Prepare stock in bulk and freeze it in 1L containers, ready for stews, soups and sauces.