Amazing staple for winter. It is nourishing if you’re feeling under the weather, it soothes and warms you up on cold winter nights and it prepares at least three meals in one go … what’s not to like..
It’s a little fiddly perhaps, it’s a bit gruesome if you don’t like the idea of an entire chicken – but there is nothing as good as real stock and for the cost of one chicken plus a few vegetables you have the basics for quite a few meals.
· one whole chicken
· 2 carrots
· stick of celery
· 2 onions
· a sprig of rosemary
· 2 or 3 leaves of sage
· 2 bay leaves
· tablespoon of salt
You will need a large pan that can hold an entire chicken and cover it with water (at least 3 litres preferably). The larger the pan, the more broth you make and the more secondary meals you can make out of one chicken. My preferred pan holds the chicken, the vegetables and 5 litres of water.
Place the chicken in a large pan
Put all the broth ingredients in a large pan. Cover with water all the way to the top of the pan leaving only a few inches for the bubbling of the liquid once it boils.
Bring to the boil then simmer for 2 hours (or longer if you want a really concentrated taste).
Separate chicken pieces from broth
Once the broth is ready, leave to cool slightly. Take out pieces of chicken and place in a large bowl. With your hands (I’m afraid this is the only way really), take the good, edible pieces of meat off the bones and tendons and gristle and place in a clean bowl. Once you have cleaned all the chicken of the carcass, sieve the liquid into a separate container. Discard all the bones and inedible bits (including the bits of mushy vegetables).
Place in the fridge
You can use it straight away but once the broth has been in the fridge overnight, it will have formed a layer of fat at the top of the container. You can spoon this off and discard, leaving you a much more healthy, low fat broth.
Another cost effective tip
I sometimes cut off the breasts of the chicken before placing it in the pan. This gives me an extra meal for the family.
The broth is delicious with Cappelletti (boil the broth and cook the cappelletti for 4 mins), Ramen (stir fry a few vegetables with a bit of soya sauce, add rice noodles and bits of chicken). Use the broth for risotto, soup or just drink it from a mug.
Use the chicken in sandwiches or salads. A good combination is chicken pie – using the broth to make the bechamel, or added to the ramen.