A long time ago I worked out that it is cheaper to buy a whole chicken and joint it oneself than it is to buy chicken pieces. 

The breasts, jointed legs and wings all go into the freezer for future dinners, leaving us with a raw chicken carcass and some wing tips.  And of course there’s so much meat left on a carcass that it would be a shame to waste it – in fact I can get another two dinners out of it. 

For the first few years we made stock by the book.  It took hours, required regular skimming and generally meant stock-making was a tedious affair.  But that really isn’t necessary.  If you want to remove the fat from stock, my top tip is simply to freeze it for later use.  The fat separates from the stock as it cools and you can lift away the frozen fat layer easily when you take your container out of the freezer.  Just boil the stock again before use. 

So this is what we do:

  • joint the chicken and start the stock immediately, browning the carcass, a halved onion and a clove of garlic.
  • Once browned, deglaze with white wine or verjuice.
  • Reduce until the liquid has almost gone (the longer your reduce it, the browner your stock)
  • Add a kettle full of boiling water and some greenery – celery/herbs or whatever
  • Simmer gently for an hour or two and then leave to cool.  No nannying required.
  • Once cool enough to decant, remove the bones and strain the stock straight into your container(s) for freezing.
  • Finally, I strip all the cooked meat off the bones, which makes enough for another dinner.

We use our stock (about 750ml) to make chicken-flavoured risotto. 

We don’t compromise on quality ingredients and have always bought organic, free range chickens.  Now that being sustainable is trendy I’m particularly proud of that.  If the supermarket has sold out, well we just don’t buy chicken at all.  

Text and Images (C) Claire @theslowfix A slow food devotee, Claire is constantly searching for new ways to enable us all to live sustainably.

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