It’s easy to make your own stock and if you use it often, then it’s also easy to stock up on stock! Here’s how.
Chicken stock is one of the easiest stocks to make and handy to keep in the freezer, as it can replace any stock in a recipe. Don’t limit the use of stock to soups and risottos; it can be used as a lower-fat alternative to oil for stir-frying foods, and can replace water when cooking rice to add flavour.
You will get the best flavour if you use a raw chicken carcass plus the giblets. A recently cooked roast chicken carcass works well, too. Chicken stock needs long, slow cooking in order to extract as much flavour as possible from the bones. This is the same process if you’re making a meat stock.
Vegetable stocks can be made more quickly; they can simply be the water you have cooked your vegetables in. For extra flavour, add a bouquet garni – a bunch of herbs such as rosemary, thyme and parsley tied together.
You can use stock immediately after it’s made or store chilled for up to four days in a sealed container. Stock is ideal for making soups, casseroles and gravy.
Stock can also be frozen, in an airtight container, for up to three months. It’s best to reduce the stock by rapid boiling to get a concentrated stock for freezing. Frozen stock can be defrosted or reheated straight from a frozen form, but should be simmered for at least 10 minutes.
Break carcass into pieces and place into a large pot with water.
As the water boils, skim off any scum that rises to the surface.
Add vegetables and simmer for 2 hours until liquid is reduced by half.
When the stock has cooled, skim off any fat that rests on the surface.