I’m all for a shortcut in the kitchen, and stock is no exception. You’ll no doubt have seen that I have lots of recipes that call for store-bought stock when making soups and broths – it’s super convenient to have on hand as one of your pantry essentials! However, when you’ve got time up your sleeve, a homemade chicken stock really does take things to the next level. My version (with an Asian twist, naturally) will give you liquid gold that will keep in the freezer for up to three months. Plus, you’ll also have the benefit of having beautifully tender chicken meat for your sandwiches, salads and more throughout the week. Want to know how to make chicken stock from scratch that doesn’t take hours? Read on, my friends!
How to make chicken stock at home
So, let’s begin! You’ll need:
• 4 garlic cloves
• 1 tsp black peppercorns
• 1 tsp vegetable oil
• 1 whole chicken
• 4 slices ginger
• 4 spring onions
• 1 tsp sea salt
I like to use a whole chicken to make this so that I can shred off all the meat at the end – I like to have a stash on hand at all times! It’s perfect in dishes such as my Chicken, Cauliflower & Sweetcorn Soup and Vietnamese-style Chicken Salad. However, you could also make this homemade stock with a chicken carcass or chicken wings if you prefer.
Marion Grasby’s chicken and sweetcorn soup makes good use of her homemade chicken stock… and the shredded meat, too.
Step 1: It’s all about the base
Like with a lot of Thai cooking, this homestyle chicken stock starts off with very typical flavours of garlic and pepper. I’ll add them to my trusty mortar and pestle (don’t worry about peeling your garlic cloves first), and then pound them to a rough paste – well, actually it’s more like a bruising.
Step 2: Start the simmer
Next, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got a nice, large stock pot that’s going to hold all your delicious liquid. Heat up the vegetable oil, then add that lovely garlic paste and cook it for a minute or so until it smells delicious. This helps take that raw edge off the garlic so it’s not too overpowering.
Now in goes everything else, as well as enough water to cover the chicken – you’ll want at least 2.5 litres, so do check your pot will be big enough before you get started! Now bring everything to a gentle simmer over a high heat and, once you’re there, turn things down to low.
Liquid gold, aka my homemade chicken stock. Epic.
Step 3: Skim off the skuzz
Simmer away for around 90 minutes, checking back every now and again to skim the surface. Getting rid of any impurities will give you a clearer stock and a ‘cleaner’ taste. Also, I know 90 minutes might not seem like a lot of time compared to other recipes for homemade stock, but I’ve found this is the perfect balance for finishing up with both flavourful stock and great-tasting chicken.
Once the time’s up, try your chicken stock and add some more salt if you think it’s needed. And that’s about it! Remove the chicken and set it aside until it’s cool enough to handle and shred, then strain your stock. You can use it straight away (see some of my dishes below for some recipe inspiration), or leave it to cool before storing in the freezer. (It will keep for up to three months.)
Top tip: if you notice any chicken fat on the surface of the homemade stock once it’s cooled down, skim that off and use it to cook roast potatoes. Epic!