Cheap and Nutritious is the topic today. Chicken Stock is the cooking task today.
Now many of you may know that I don’t buy cheap chickens – welfare can only be bad if something is cheap. Taste can only be bad if something is short-lived and horribly died. However I don’t buy many and I can get numerous dishes out of one good waterless and flavoursome chicken. One cheap awful supermarket chicken gives you one meal if that and most is water. One less cheap but well-sourced chicken gives you numerous meals and you save money by not having to add numerous herbs and spices to give it taste…
So that is the cheap out of the way. It can be a false economy in some situations. But if you buy well, it can be cheap in the long run. I get mine from our local farmer.
Much of what I have just said assumes: 1. you have the cash in the first place to buy good quality – you may not, no matter how much you’d like to; 2. you eat meat. If either of these apply, just use vegetables. I often use up odds and ends from the vegetable choppings – cabbage outside bits, ends of carrots, bits of potato etc. You don’t have to use chicken at all. Or fish bits etc if you have fish available. Whether chicken, vegetables or fish, it will be cheaper than buying ready made stock which always, in my view, has that rather synthetic taste.
Nutritious – chicken is full of good things. Protein. A little bit of fat (fat is necessary in our diet if it is the good type and not too much of it). There is calcium in the bones and good stuff in the marrow in the bones. Don’t eat the bones of course but some of it does make its way into the liquid if you cook it long enough.
I don’t make chicken stock every time I cook a chicken. Who has the time? I take the chicken bones after the meal has ended, let them cool, remove any remaining meat if I want it there and then. I then freeze any meat and the bones. I take them out of the freezer when I want to make stock.
Put what you are going to put in the stock together. I tend to use the occasional herb, bayleaf, carrot, potato.
Decide how you are going to cook the stock. I either use my slow cooker OR the stove top. Up to you which you prefer.
I do tend to prefer the slow cooker as I can just forget about it and not worry about it evaporating. Although the smell that emanates from the stove top version is wonderful.
Put everything in with some water (cover the contents with water, that gives you an idea of how much water to add).
Leave it for as long as you want. I leave mine, in the slow cooker for a day; on the stove top for a couple of hours BUT make sure it doesn’t evaporate and leave you with a dry and burnt bottom of the pan.
Then, I drain the contents. Keep the liquid. Freeze some. Use the rest of it straight away. In soups, in pies, in stews and casseroles. And, if a little under the weather, I drink it in a mug!
Cheap and nutritious.