Now is the time for chicken soup.

Store bought stock is dismal, salty and expensive. You need litres of the stuff to make a decent soup to feed the family and beyond. In one chef’s job, every week I had to make stock from 8 chickens in a giant stock pot. This yielded flavoursome and delicious stock, however after straining it I would spend an hour picking the meat from the carcass. When you use a whole chicken you get a whole lot of bones, tiny bones, and bones so weird looking you would not be able to figure out where on the bird it once belonged. In a commercial kitchen you can get in a lot of trouble for leaving any scrap of bone among the meat.

The easiest, cheapest and most delicious way to make chicken stock from scratch is to use chicken wings. Even when using whole wings and not divided winglets you should only expect to get a bone from the drumlet, two from the wing and 1 from the wing tip. The meat and bones on the wing yields flavourful stock and the meat separates easily from the bone.

Chicken Wing Stock

1kg chicken wings
3 litres of water
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon of salt
Cracked black pepper

Skin and dice onion, smash the garlic. Place onion, garlic and wings in a large pot and top with water. Simmer for at least 2 hours until the meat has fallen from the bone and the liquid is flavourful. Add pepper to taste.
Alternatively you can do this with roast chicken wings. Toss your chicken wings on a baking tray and roast until golden, or for about 30 minutes. Place in a pot with your onion and garlic and top with water as above. Simmer for an hour until meat has fallen from the bone. I’ve made this from chicken wings leftover from dinner.

Asian Chicken Soup

With this stock you can make a very quick, easy and nourishing soup which is particularly good when you have a cold. You don’t need very much to make this soup and it fed our little family very well after a hard, long day. It serves 4 people. Multiply the recipe as required. While rice usually doesn’t freeze well, it does fine when suspended in soup.

Simple chicken, rice and ginger soup

1.5 litres of chicken stock and the meat from stock making
500 millilitres of water
1 carrot
Small piece of ginger
¾ cup of rice – I used basmati but you can use any type of rice you prefer
Handful of shredded cabbage or about 5 brussel sprouts shredded
1 clove garlic
Peel garlic clove and smash. Pour stock and water into a pot, add garlic and a piece of ginger about the size of a 50 cent piece and bring to a simmer.
Dice carrot and add to stock. When carrot is nearly cooked through, add rice, cooked chicken wing meat and shredded cabbage. Stir occasionally to prevent rice sticking. When rice is cooked through, remove soup from heat.
Season with soy sauce and pepper to taste
I like to grate some extra ginger over the top at the end of cooking with the finest side of a box grater or a micro plane for extra punch. Especially when I have a cold.

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