This is my current chicken stock recipe. For pretty much all of the cooking elements, I am using a Ninja multi-cooker contraption I acquired quite some time ago.
Look, you can sub the multi cooker out for an oven for the roasting parts, and a big fucking pot or a slow cooker or whatever for the bits that take ages. This is more so to document what and how I did this.
I am not a food writer or a trained cook, ratios/etc are kind of dependent on what I can get ahold of, and you can tailor it to your wishes. This post more is about the process that got me the best results with the tools I have to hand, with the minimum of effort.
I will also cover disposal of waste by composting all of it, or making it into fertilizer so you can grow more food, or something. Look, food waste is stupid. Putting perfectly good food into the landfill is an abomination.
This post will cover four sections.
- Making a vegetable stock as a base.
- Turning it into chicken stock.
- Chicken soup, optionally with dumplings.
- Composting/reusing all the waste.
Making a vegetable stock as a base.
I found best results were had by making a veg stock first, and then turning it into a chicken stock. So here we go, here is a straightforward enough vegetable stock recipe.
If you have a bigger pot or slow cooker, you can scale this up. Also, the ratio is "what I had on hand", so adjust as needed.
Don't be a fucking coward though, add more garlic.
- One parsnip.
- Two carrots.
- One leek.
- One celery.
- Three heads of garlic.
- Two large onions.
- Soy sauce.
- Optional: powdered oyster mushrooms.
- Olive oil.
Peel and chop the parsnip and carrots, put into the air frying basket or onto a parchment paper lined sheet tray.
Separate the cloves of garlic, whack them with a knife, and peel them. Put with the rest of the veg.
Peel the onions and cut into quarters. Put with the rest.
Wash and cut up the celery. Put with the rest.
Cut up and wash the leek... Put with the rest.
You now have a load of veg either in an air fryer basket, or on a sheet tray. Give them a sprinkle of pepper and salt, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Either roast them a bit in the oven to get some colour, or air fry at 150*C for 20 minutes, mixing around every 5 minutes.
The roasting step (which was achieved here with the air frying function) is to build flavour.
Assuming you are using the Ninja, add in cold water until its filled to the maximum line. Add in "some" mirin and a dash of soy sauce, along with your peppercorns and mushroom powder.
Put it on "low" and ignore for the next 6 hours. It will do the rest for you.
Once it is done, simply remove the basket and "press" down a bit to remove all the liquid. Decant through a strainer into a pot to remove finer chunks that escape this. You will end up with "waste" veg like below to compost later.
At this point, I reserved a jar of the veg stock to make a curry with.
Turning it into a chicken stock.
So you have a pot of vegetable stock now, and you have cleaned out the multi cooker device (this takes less than 10 minutes at most).
Turning it into a rich, deep chicken stock requires very minimal effort, just a lot of passive-time. I like to do this overnight.
Firstly, get your chicken wings. Uncut, untrimmed, just bulk wings from a butcher. It is the cheapest, and best option - at least here. You want a kilo and a half.
Spend a few minutes plucking out the few stray feathers, season them with salt, pepper, and some good oil, and pop them in the air fryer basket.
I usually set it to the high temp of 200*C for about 20 minutes on the default (air fry) mode, shaking/mixing thoroughly halfway, to get some colour on the wings but not cook them through. Your mileage, and timings, may vary here. Because its so overcrowded, they will not cook through fully. You may need to give them a second blast after mixing around to get even colour, or do it in batches, whatever works for you.
Once this step is done and the wings have a bit of colour and goodness on 'em, just pour in the veg stock over them until you are out of veg stock, or you have reached the max fill line and covered the wings fully. If you run short, top up with water. Adding some more mirin is a great idea.
Turn it on to slow cook mode, on low, and set it to the maximum time (12 hours). Let it do its magic. You may want to periodically check if it needs a topup of water and give it a stir after a few hours, but realistically, its fine to just leave it on autopilot.
Once you are satisfied it has gone on long enough, let things cool a bit and pull the basket. Press on the chicken while lifting the basket out, so the liquid ends up in the slow cookers pot thing.
In this case, I left it run for about 16 hours because I was busy.
Strain your stock through a sieve into a pot, reduce it by about a quarter if its too thin, and you will have the greatest, richest stock going.
There is no need to "skim impurities". When you roast or fry chicken, you eat those impurities. In French cooking it is needed, but not here. French cooking is fun, but it is also really fucking fussy about the oddest things.
There is also no need to remove any fat at this point. Or, really, at all. Ever. Fat is flavour. Fat is good for you. If you do want to remove the fat, or if the taste of it is funky, it will separate out in the fridge and can be removed. Personally, I prefer to let it emulsify when using the stock.
While the stock reduces, you can go to the next step.
Chicken soup, optionally with dumplings.
So you have chicken stock, and a bunch of rather structurally unsound chicken wings.
It doesn't take long with a fork and your hands (wash your hands, and optionally wear gloves if you hate handling meat) to strip all the meat from the bones and put the meat in a pot.
Add some stock to the pot, simmer with the chicken for a bit, and either add some macaroni noodles or make some dumplings to put in the soup.
For the dumplings, just mix up some all purpose flour, a pinch of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), some salt (sodium chloride) and some whole milk, until it is the right consistency, and drop them in so they cook in the soup.
Depending on your flour, your milk, etc, the ratios do vary - I find it is better to just fucking eyeball it than actually measure. If your flour is self raising, omit the baking soda.
Don't fuck about with shite like semi skim or half and half or whatever bullshit, get some real, full fat milk. It tastes better and is good for you.
When writing this blog post, I was out of flour, so we ended up tipping in the rest of a bag of pasta as the "starch component".
Composting all the waste.
So you have ended up with a bunch of "extracted" vegetables, that can be directly composted.
You don't want to be wasting these, even though you have extracted a lot from them and they are now mushy, flaccid, limp and unappealing, they are still a good carbon source and will probably have a shitload of magnesium, nitrogen, and potassium and suchlike left in them.
I prefer to reduce their size a bit by just chopping them into smaller bits before composting to increase the surface area and make it go faster.
You also have ended up with a bunch of cleaned bones from the chicken wings. Don't be a fucking idiot and throw those out, those are valuable nutrients for your soil.
Those bones are a great source of nutrients such as potassium and calcium for the soil, so we will use those too - by following a few simple steps.
- Spread the cleaned bones out on a parchment paper on a sheet tray.
- Put the sheet tray in a hot oven for a while.
- Wait until they are completely roasted.
- Crush them up finely, into either a powder with a blender, or if you don't have a blender, grind them with a mortar and pestle or something. Roasted bones of this size will break down easily.
- Add them to soil as a slow releasing source of phosphorous, calcium, etc.
Takes about an extra half hour of your time, during which you can eat the chicken soup we made in the previous step, because most of that time is waiting for shit to roast in the oven.
Congratulations. You now have stock, have had a good soup, and have hopefully made some compost.