December 17, 2009

Basic Chicken Soup/Stock

(from Donna Hay Jun/Jul 2009)

Spent 3 hours in the kitchen on Monday, prepping for 2 dinners and prepping and cooking this chicken soup. It was a tiring time but rewarding to see people enjoy the food and me enjoying this comforting chicken soup :)

Recipe for basic chicken soup. You can use this basic recipe to come up with other soups.

1.5kg whole chicken
1 brown onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
4 bay leaves
1 tsp black peppercorns
2.5L water or enough to cover

2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 cup small pasta
salt and papper
chopped flat-leaf parsley to serve

Place chicken, onion, garlic, celery, carrot, bay leaves, peppercorns and water in a large saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 1 hour or until chicken is cooked through*. Occasionally skim foam from the surface**. Remove chicken from stock and allow to cool slightly. Remove skin and discard. Shred chicken meat from the bones and set aside. Stain the stock, discarding veggies.

Return stock to the pan with celery, carrot, pasta, shredded chicken and salt and pepper. Cook over high heat for 10-15 mins or until veggies are tender. Top with parsley to serve. Serves 6.

*To check if chicken is cooked through, remove chicken from pot and insert a small knife in between the leg and breast. If juices run clear, then chicken is ready.
**Skimming the foam from the surface removes impurities so it will have a cleaner, sweeter flavour and look clear instead of cloudy.

1. Freezer the strained chicken stock for up to 6 months and use in soups. Make sure you cool the stock completely before you place in the freezer.
2. Measure out the stock to exact quantities for freezing so all you need to do is defrost and use. Freeze any leftover amount in ice-cube trays and use to thicken sauces and flavour stir-fries.
3. Freeze the stock with shredded chicken meat up to 2 months. Just defrost, heat up and add veggies for an insteant comforting dinner.
4. For an Asian flavour, add white peppercorns instead of black, a knob of peeled ginger and washed coriander root, parsely stlks and omit the bay leaves when making the stock.

This may seem a bit tedious with quite a few ingredients but the result is worth it! Real stock cooked from scratch is so different to those store-bought ones.

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