If you are living away from your family and friends like us, Skype is your best friend. Literally.
It is your connection to the outside world.
After we moved to Virgin Gorda, my mother and I Skyped almost every day until 2 days prior to her sudden death.
Since I was at home most of the time, the 7-hour time difference with Turkey, where my parents lived (and my father still lives), was not a problem.
As I was going through a culture shock, she was the one who was listening to me and helping me to get through it. She would give me advice and help me find a way to see the positives.
Lately, those daily “Skype Sessions” are what I am missing the most.
We would talk about anything and everything.
As you can imagine, one favorite topic was food. I would tell her about new recipes I tried and she would tell me about hers.
One day, she recommended me a new soup recipe she recently made and loved. As I was writing down the ingredients I realized that I had everything but chicken stock.
Up until that day, for some reason, I thought that making chicken (or vegetable) stock is a long and hard process. When I told her that I do not have chicken stock at home she immediately asked me if I had chicken and some basic vegetables and herbs. I did.
I was wrong. Making chicken stock is very easy. You put together a bunch of herbs, vegetables and a couple of pieces if chicken in a big pot with water and cook it for 3 to 4 hours, strain it and VOILA!
Not only it is a much cheaper alternative to store bought chicken stock but also it is free of all the chemicals they use to increase shelf life.
Since that day I have never bought chicken stock from a supermarket. I usually make it once a month and put them in plastic storage containers (with tight lids) and freeze them. When I need chicken stock I let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight and use it the next day. They are good in the freezer for up to 4 months.
I use everyday vegetables and herbs like onions, carrots, celery, potato, garlic, thyme, parsley and dill but if you have other vegetables like parsnips, fennel even celery root you are more than welcome to add to it.
In terms chicken, you can buy chicken parts or a whole chicken. Whichever you like. I had 4 pieces of chicken thighs and 2 pieces of chicken breasts.
If you want vegetable stock simply omit the chicken and add more of your favorite vegetables.
I use chicken stock for soups or anytime I need flavor in my dishes. The best example is my lentil salad with olives and feta cheese. Adding 2 cups of chicken stock to the water to cook lentils makes a world of difference.
Homemade Chicken Stock
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours
- Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 5
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 celery stalks with leaves, cut into thirds
- 2 large onions, peeled and quartered
- 1 head of garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 potato, peeled and quartered
- 1-tablespoon salt
- 7 sprigs of thyme
- 10 sprigs of Italian parsley
- 10 sprigs of dill
- 2 teaspoons whole black and white peppercorns (no need to ground)
- 1 whole chicken or 7 pieces of chicken parts
- 12 cups of water
- Place all ingredients in a large pot. (I used a Dutch oven but if you do not have one, use the biggest one you have on hand)
- Add water and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the heat and simmer it uncovered for 4 hours.
- Strain the entire content in batches through a strainer.
- Pack the liquid in containers and refrigerate for a few days or freeze up to 4 months.
There is a great chicken recipe (mom’s recipe) coming up, so be sure to have this broth, reserve 1 cup of it and freeze the rest.