I have a cough due to cold. Really, how can one human produce so much snot? Maybe snot is something I shouldn't mention on a food blog? Hmm possibly. Moving along...
Nothing is more comforting to me when sick than a nice hot bowl of Lipton chicken noodle soup. I had about 3 packets last week and my stash was beginning to dwindle. While out getting more supplies for the puppies (they didn't care that I was sick) I was able to get my cheapy little fingers on a ready-roasted chicken for a whopping 99 pence! I have never come across such huge reductions when grocery shopping in any other country and I think Morrison's has the best. It's always hit and miss but your best shot at a great discount is between 7pm and 8pm. I look for things I can freeze :)
Now normally, if we weren't going to eat the chicken that night or the next, it would be stripped of the meat, bones thrown and meat frozen. I have always thought homemade chicken stock to be more trouble than it was worth. Boy was I wrong. I popped all of the bones and skin into a large stock pot, tossed in a couple of peeled and roughly cut carrots, two chopped celery stock, two peeled and quartered onions, 8-10 pepper corns, and a couple of sachets of dried bouquet garni. Yes, fresh is best but a) the store didn't have what I needed and 2) the cost of fresh versus dried and how much would have eventually been thrown out would have been a waste.
I filled the pot with enough cold water to cover the chicken and brought this to a boil. I then reduced it to a simmer and let that go for a few hours. If a foam builds, scoop this off the top but my stock didn't produce any foam (something I did? Or didn't do?) Once the stock had simmered for about 3 hours, I drained it through a sieve. Do this over a container and NOT the sink like I nearly did! I let the stock cool and then scraped some of the fat from the top and stuck it in the fridge (should keep in there for a few days). The stock can be frozen in large plastic containers or in an ice cube tray if you tend to use smaller quantities for up to three months or so. With this stock, I made a delicious chicken noodle soup which I will share with you tomorrow.
The best thing about making food from scratch is that you are aware of every single ingredient that goes into it. And it doesn't need to be complicated or time consuming. Heck, toss the ingredients for this stock in the crock pot and forget about it for a few hours (keep an eye on it if it's on the stove please!)