THE NO1 LOW MEAT RECIPE                       stock

January 2018

Nearly every dinner recipe across my wall of cookery books asks for stock, bone broth or whatever you want to call it but I never have enough or even worse I don’t have any.  All the TV chefs have it to hand I know why; because it makes any meal it touches taste delicious: soup, gravy, pie, spag bol, pasta, stuffing, potato, risotto, chilli, lasagna nearly any recipe that calls for liquid.  It is a kitchen essential and is actually as easy to make as a slice of toast, not as quick but definitely easy.  

I am going to pick on Free Range chicken here because to me one chicken is not just dinner for 2, it is more like 4-5 meals.  I promise you won’t be so bored of chicken by the end of the week that you’ll never look at another.  Half of those meals come from the meat, your initial roast chicken dinner, irresistible chicken and mayonnaise sandwiches on day two and you may want to experiment with the plethora of leftover roast chicken recipes on the web for dinner another night of the week, the other half of those meals come from the carcass of the chicken, the bones. 

 

To me the bones are definitely the best bit because they open up opportunities to all of those recipes on my bookshelf that I want to try but I know won’t taste so good without that magic ingredient… stock.  I’m not going to tell you that stock is nutritious because that is apparently very contentious but I do know that it is delicious, low in fat and very inexpensive. 

 

To roast or not to roast

In the fictional world where I have time I would go to the butchers and get some beef bones or pigs trotters, roast them in the oven with sprigs of thyme and olive oil, boil the roasted bones with fresh herbs and vegetables for hours until the stock is made and finally reduce the liquid to make a rich and thick sauce but, in reality I just use what I have to hand when I have it. I’m not dissing the numerous and delicious recipes online for meat stock, bone broth, clear stock or brown stock but I am saying don’t let those recipes put you off, stock doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be, and if you’re in a rush like me its easiest to ignore them and use only 2 ingredients: bones and water and that is the same for any meat. 

 


Vegetables and herbs

 

I think most people include vegetables and herbs when making stock but I never bother, I keep it simple for a number of reasons; I’m usually making stock with leftovers but I don’t have the time or inclination to follow another recipe after I’ve just made and then eaten a giant roast dinner and because chicken stock is one of the most called for ingredients in your average cookery book, and by avoiding herbs and vegetables it is the most versatile.  

 

After a meal I take off all the meat and pack it away for another meal and use everything that’s not meat to make the stock, that means everything, you don’t have to be picky here. 

Ingredients for 2 ingredient stock:

Chicken stock

Beef stock

Pork stock

Lamb stock

1 chicken carcass

Min 500g beef bones

Min 500g pork bones or pig trotters

Min 500g lamb bones

Water to nearly submerge

Water to nearly submerge

Water to nearly submerge

Water to nearly submerge

 

Method for 2 ingredient stock:

Using a large saucepan with a lid, nearly cover the bones with water (you want to see about 1cm sticking above the water), bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for at least 4 hours. To make it even easier I use a slow cooker and leave it overnight.  After 4 – 8 hours pour the stock through a sieve into a large bowl and leave to cool.  There should be a lovely wobble to the cooled liquid, (mostly when you make chicken and lamb stock) now you can either use it straight away or distribute into containers for freezing. If you are worried about the fat it floats to the top of the jelly so you can scrape it off for cooking separately as I do.  No waste!

 

I will be sharing some of my favourite recipes using just stock and no meat in the future but in the meantime there are lots of tasty stock recipes online, as well as in your own cookery books of course! But I hope that next time you invest in a Free Range chicken you won’t need to search around for a recipe to have a go at your own home made stock.