There is a small Indian restaurant that specializes in soup for lunch near where I work. The long lineup every day invited me to join them. I had red lentils korma soup and enjoyed every drop of it that I became a regular customer. Believe me, if you like very spicy bold flavours, you will love any kind of Indian food. There was a time when I went for a very late lunch and the cooks and server were already cleaning their pots and pans but they were able to serve me whatever is left. I didn’t have the best-looking meal but I was happy to have the chance to ask one question to the owner, “What makes you the queen of soup for all the long queue every day?” …..”I make my own stock and broth”. A plain and short response but is the heart for a delicious meal. I love it!
I used to wonder from different stores looking for chicken bones to make a stock but it seems a lot of people use bones too. This is why I started buying a whole chicken to fraction and debone it myself. From here, I save money and refined my knife skills. You don’t need to have that skillset in using the knife to be able to cut a whole chicken, instead, sense of touch will guide you through. But if you’re petrified to use a sharp knife and carefully carve your chicken, better leave it to the butcher.
This reminds me of another story of my life. When you buy chicken directly from the farm, you don’t go there for 2 chicken breast or one whole chicken, you have to buy a lot …. not 1 or 3. In my previous job, they brought home 15 whole dressed chickens, it is a lot of chicken! We fraction all of it, the kitchen looks like a slaughter place. Legs, breasts, thighs, wings and bone in the sink and some in the countertop. The lady of the house was terrified and frightened….salmonella was everywhere, something I’ll never forget. Others could get fired from their job for doing some stupid things but I have the kindest heart of people to work for. This is where I dedicated myself to make all-purpose cleaning solution: a ratio of 1:1 water and vinegar plus essential oil, I love peppermint and tea tree oil or lemon oil and eucalyptus oil. It has the pure clean smell and I know it is safe for everybody. But remember what is good to my kitchen surfaces and my flooring might not apply to you..
Homemade chicken stock is a must-have at home and work. No rocket science, very easy to make. It is always a saving grace and makes any form of dishes – outstanding! I love pouring it in a mug with a few grinds of black pepper and freshly grated ginger and to drink. It gives warmth, especially when I feel blue. The secret to having an amazing broth is patience, the longer you let it simmer, the tastier and better. Since it needs hours and hours of simmering, why not make a lot. It lasts 4 to 5 days in the fridge and 9 months in the freezer, that is if and only you have the luxury of space, but every time I make chicken stock it wouldn’t last that long, because everybody at home loves it. Otherwise, there are nice store-bought broths too, but nothing beats what you made from your heart.
I read a lot of recipes or articles about how to make a perfect chicken broth. Some claim that it is their mother’s best recipe, or a recipe that was passed from generation to generation, or the best of the best – and yet they all sound the same with five common denominators (Chicken/chicken bones, carrots, celery, onions and let it simmer for hours). I never thought of writing a recipe about how to make a chicken broth for it is everywhere and I’m sure you have your favourite way of making your chicken stock, but with all the compliments that I received, it inspired me to share with you what I do. Good chicken stock should be aromatic, have a savoury flavour and a body that even coagulates slightly when chilled, the secret; PATIENCE AND TIME.
- 1 or 2 4 LBS whole chicken , chicken bones (see note)
- 1 cooking onion, peeled cut into half
- 3 leeks, trimmed and split into half horizontally , wash very well
- 3 parsnips, peeled or wash and trim
- 3 carrots, peeled
- 3 parsley root, peeled
- 4 celery ribs
- 4 bay leaf
- 2 tablespoon peppercorns
- In a large stockpot, place the whole chicken and bones. Add cold water about 10 -12 cups to cover chicken generously. Turn on the heat on high to boil then let it simmer in medium-low heat for 30 minutes skimming any foam accumulated on the surface.
- Add all the remaining ingredients turning the heat on high to boil. Lower the heat to low and let it simmer for 1 hour with a lid on partially covered.
- Turn off the heat, take out the chicken, remove some of the meat if you need it. Bring back the rest of the chicken to the pot and continue simmering for another 2 hours or more partially covered.
- turn off the heat, let it cool to handle and strain the broth through a mesh strainer. Discard all the chicken pieces and vegetables. Store in the fridge for 4-5 days or freeze it.