Chicken stock is consumed regularly in our household and used frequently in my dishes. For that reason, making it is a weekly task. I use chicken stock in many ways including in stews, braises, soups and sauces, to loosen a stir fry, and even in spaghetti bolognese. Yes, it might be easier to buy it from the supermarket but nothing beats a fresh gently simmered home-made stock from hand curated ingredients.
I’m a firm believer that home-made chicken stock is a great substitute for water in cooking (just don’t boil your pasta or vegetables in it!) Not all cooking elements require time and effort, and this method is passive cooking at its finest. A slightly concentrated broth that is well seasoned reduces - and often eliminates altogether - the necessity for flavour enhancers such as MSG.
You only need a humble handful of ingredients to build this stock. It starts with cleaning the chicken frames to remove impurities, leaving the brown onion skin on to naturally colour your broth, and continually boiling the stock once it is strained. In Vietnamese, the term đậm đà (dum-dah) often refers to the depth of a soup, such as the boldness of Phở gà (Vietnamese Chicken noodle soup). You’ll find the đậm đà of this stock can be the core building block for soups that are full of body and wildly umami with minimal intervention.
Cook in big batches, then freeze and store in small batches, to make this a ‘stock’ standard in your kitchen. Check out the full recipe below and do yourself a favour, for flavour!
9 chicken frames
3 large brown onions (skin on)
2 tablespoons salt
50g rock sugar
30g dried shrimp
Pre-heat oven to 220 degrees. Roast onions and ginger for 20 minutes
In a large stock pot of boiling water, add the chicken frames and boil for 2 minutes. Strain to remove impurities,refill pot with water and bring to a boil.
Add chicken frames, onions, ginger, salt and rock sugar. Return to a boil, then simmer for 2½ hours. Every 20-30 minutes, skim any impurities off the top of the stock.
This step is optional. Strain well and reduce on medium-high flame for 12-15 minutes. The volume of the stock will reduce but the flavour of the stock will intensify. The longer you boil it, the more concentrated the flavour.
Season with salt and sugar to taste.