How to make a basic stock for soups, stews and sauces.
Points to remember
- Place chicken carcasses/bones into large pan and top with cold water. Heat to a gentle simmer and skim off any protein scum which rises up. Top up with cold water.
- Add vegetables and bouquet garni. Bring to a simmer again but do not let the stock boil vigorously. Regulate the heat so that a few bubbles rise to the surface. Skim regularly and keep the ingredients covered by topping up with cold water. Cook uncovered for 3-4 hours.
- Strain the stock, pour into a clean pan and boil fiercely to reduce the stock and intensify the flavour.
- Chop veg into large uniform chunks - too small and they'll disintegrate during the long cooking time. Don't use starchy vegetables such as potatoes as these will make the stock cloudy, or vegetables that are too green as these can colour the stock.
- Try not to let the stock boil, especially if using bones as fat will disperse through the stock and be impossible to skim off. Stock can be frozen, just reduce it down and pour into freezer bags or ice cube trays.