Chicken and Beef Stock

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Last week on the Radio Live kitchen and Garden show Hester Guy and I discussed the merits of a good homemade stock and how we make them.
Good stock is the basis to a well flavoured dish, if you use inferior products then the end result will not be as good.
I generally use chicken or beef stock for all of my cooking – at times I have made fish stock but after hearing Martin Bosley (Yacht Club, Wellington) at Savour New Zealand say that he only allows chicken stock to be used with fish and seafood I have changed my mind. 

While there are times (and lots of them) that I use good quality commercial stocks such as Essential Cuisine, I do like making stock and also I think there is a satisfaction that comes with making the meal from scratch.  I am still working on growing my own vegetables and can’t imagine that I will be rearing our meat anytime soon!

With the rising prices of food making your own stock is also really economical and in the case of chicken stock it can be made with carcasses that would be otherwise thrown in the bin.
Salt is something that should be avoided or used very sparingly when making stock – reason being is that once the stock is reduced the flavour is concentrated and you don’t want to end up with something over salted.
Chicken Stock
After I have roasted or poached a chicken and removed the flesh I then add other chicken frames to a roasting pan as well and then gently roast them all at 150 C for 30 minutes or so.  These frames are then placed in a large saucepan and covered with cold water (also pour in anything from the roasting pan).  Add sliced carrot, onion, celery, leek, piece of lemon rind, bay leaf and parsley stalks and simmer for 4 hours or so.  Skim any solids off the surface of the stock as they rise.  After 4 hours, strain the stock and then refrigerate, lift of any fat that rises to the surface.  At this stage I will perhaps use some of the stock for soup or I will reduce it further to make a concentrated stock and then freeze it in plastic tubs.

Beef stock is made with either sliced shin or you may buy a bag of beef soup bones.  These I scatter into a roasting pan along with a drizzle of olive oil and a good squeeze of tomato paste.  Onion, carrot, celery and garlic are added to the roasting pan with the bones.  Roast at 180 C for 1 hour and then transfer to a large stock pot and cover with cold water.  Bring to a simmer and skim off any sediment that rises.  Continue to simmer this way for 8 hours and then strain, cool and remove any fat.  This is then great for vegetable soup or can be reduced for a more concentrated flavour and frozen for later use.

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6 thoughts on “Chicken and Beef Stock

  1. HI Helen
    I have just been reading your receipes for beef and chicken stock do you have a good vegetable stock receipe?
    PS: I love listening to you on saturdays with tony M your shows are informative, helpful and always something of interest comes up. Keep up the great show, many thanks from keen listener

  2. Ps. For chicken stock, I use about 1.25 – 1.5 kg of chicken carcases/trimmings that I have saved(realy cheap in the supermarket) in 6-7L of water. First off I heat the oven to 220. Place the chicken bits in a roasting pan. Roast them for about 15 mins. Then baste them with a small amount of tom paste. Put them back in the oven for 5-10 mins. I then add the chicken bits to the stock pot and put the veggies/herbs in the stock. Very slowley bring it to the boil. Skim it etc. Then turn it down to a simmer for 3-4 hours.

    I do not put any salt in the stock. That way I can reduce the stock without making it to salty. I then add the salt when using the stock.

  3. After being inspired by a cookbook that I have I now make all my own chicken and veg stock. I make it in very large batches 4-6L and freez it. The last lot I did I bagged 3 lots of 1L, 4 lots of 250 mls and the rest in ice cubes.

  4. Bacon bones make great stock if you are making pea and ham soup or perhaps a minestrone style soup. I would be wary of reducing the stock too much. I would add celery, carrot and onion to your pan and I generally just cook them in water as opposed to roasting.

  5. We are getting our pigs homekilled this weekend and will be getting a heap of pork bones and bacon bones back from the butcher.

    Are either equally good for stock, do you think, or would bacon bones make too salty a stock? And should I roast the bones first, like you have suggested for the beef bones?

    Freezer space is at a premium at our place, so I might buy some ice cube bags to freeze the stock in :)