Well before I moved out to my first sharehouse I used to work at a place called Noodle Hut, one of those tiny joints where Asian chefs fry your meal on hot burners with their backs to you and a young white guy packs it into a cute carry box wearing an unflattering Chinese cap. I was that guy. My boss was a Greek misogynist who spoke in passive-arrogant Austro-Mediterranean and whose rotund father, Themistocles, hogged the bench at night near the fridge engrossed in current affairs programs on TV. I hung out a lot with the two chefs, John and Harold, middle aged Chinese men who knew more than anything else how to make a dish taste great: a decent chicken stock.
I attempted my own stock living at the PA Mansion some years ago. The result was fatty water that tasted like off celery and bone.
These days we cook a lot of risottos and soups and Hon and I decided that a good stock was paramount for our sh.k collection. Employing provincial French rather than Asian inspirations, we give you the sh.k Good Stock, a fine meal-enhancing broth that would make even John and Harold nod their brows and grunt with approval between Kwai Teows.
- 1 Whole chook, (approx. 2kg), cleaned and leg pieces removed
- 2.5L of water
- 5 Leeks, sliced into 1cm pieces
- 1 Large carrot, chopped
- 1 Medium brown onion, half finely chopped, half left whole
- 1 Tsp black peppercorns
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Bouquet garni (see note)
- Sea salt
- Firstly, preheat oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 6). Season leg pieces with juice of 1 lemon, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place into roasting tray with 2 cups of water and roast for 1 hour.
- Once roasted, remove cooked chicken meat from bones and set aside (see note). Use the juices from the tray and place into a large stock pot (we use a 9L pot).
- Heat on medium and add the chopped brown onion. Cook until fragrant and transparent, add water and whole chicken, including the leg bones. Switch the heat to high and add the leeks, carrot and bouquet garni. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer with lid on for 2 hours.
- Remove chicken meat from the pot (this will most likely have fallen from the bones and will need to be sifted out). Season broth with salt, pepper and add additional water if required.
- Continue to simmer on a low heat, partially covered, for 60 minutes. Any foam that appears on the surface can be skimmed off with a spoon. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
- Pour contents of the pot through a strainer (for an ultra clean stock, line strainer with cheesecloth or coffee filter). Transfer to a large bowl, refrigerate until cold, and then skim fat from the surface. This excess fat is excellent for cooking!
- The stock can then be transferred into containers and refrigerated/frozen until needed.
Easily made using 4 sprigs of parsley, 3 sprigs of thyme, 5 peppercorns, all wrapped into a large bay leaf and tied with kitchen twine (or into a cheesecloth square and tied shut).
Get creative and experiment with the contents of the bouquet garni, we suggest including a small amount of tarragon or rosemary for a different flavour.
We like to use a whole chicken rather than a chicken carcass as the chicken meat is cooked tenderly and is excellent for a chicken pie or chicken and sweetcorn soup! To ensure nothing goes to waste, we retain the cooked chicken meat from the legs and breast and use that night.
If you do not wish to use a whole chicken, a chicken carcass and remaining chicken bones/pieces make an equally tasty stock.
Makes approx. 2L of stock