‘I love most of Nigel’s recipes, as they’re all about proper food. I probably eat my version of this once a week, made with stock from roast- chicken bones. It’s liquid bliss.’
Tom Parker Bowles
A clear, savoury broth Extract from Nigel Slater’s Appetite
First published in 2000
by Fourth Estate
Either the remains of a roast chicken (don’t forget the jelly in the dish) or, much better, a fresh free-range chicken
A handful of chicken wings
An onion or a leek or two
A couple of celery sticks
A tomato or two
A few peppercorns-about 8
A small bunch of parsley stalks and 3 or 4 bay leaves
There are times when stock, or broth as I prefer to call it, becomes the star of the meal-the very point of your supper. In that case, I suggest you might prefer to make the real thing with a few chicken bones, some sweet vegetables and a handful of herbs. The resulting golden liquid is the most soothing, comforting, sustaining, satisfying, warming, healing bowl of stuff on Earth.
It needs little or no fuss: just an onion, a carrot, some celery, a tomato and some leek and parsley, simmered with either Sunday’s roast-chicken carcass or a whole fresh chicken. Either one will give you something so blissful to sup on that you will wonder why you haven’t bothered to do it before.
If you choose a fresh chicken, I suggest that you lift it from the stock after an hour or so and serve it in thick, juicy slices with garlic mayonnaise and plain, crisp lettuce.
And whichever method you decide to use, I recommend tucking a few chicken wings into the pan, too. They will enrich the finished broth like nothing else.
Take your largest pan (the deeper the better). Stuff the chicken or its bones, the wings, the vegetables-rinsed but not peeled or cut up-and the peppercorns and herbs into it, then pour in enough water to virtually cover the bird. You may find you have to top it up during the cooking.
Bring the water to the boil, then turn down the heat so-and this is important-the liquid bubbles only gently.
After a couple of hours, the liquid will be pale gold in colour, depending on how many tomatoes and onions you have used, and should smell deeply appetising. Lift the chicken out and set it aside, then strain the liquor through a sieve into a bowl. Leave it to cool, then refrigerate.