For those who came to this blog, and found there is no update, I AM SORRY! After the Chinese New Year, work and school just start to pile. But I finally completed my course and got my certificate. Hooray! Hopefully this also means my schedule will be back to normal soon.

For the past three months, I barely cook. Even if I do, it is simple, fill-up-the-tummy kind of grub. I was craving for chicken soup for a very long time. My friend, C and B, insisted that homemade chicken soup is the best. Me, being a lazy bugger and a supporter of instant stock, just couldn’t get my act together. But miracles do happen. I went to the supermarket and bought a chicken.

There are many ways to prepare chicken stock. My method is a combination of eastern and western style. The big difference between homemade and instant is that the latter has a stronger, more intense flavour. The former is lighter and very drinkable. The portion I made is quite small, you can double the recipe and freeze any leftover.

Chicken stock

Makes 1.5 litres of stock

Ingredients
1)      1 whole (cleaned) chicken carcass* (I like to use Sakura chicken which is available via NTUC)
2)      1 piece of chicken breast (optional)
3)      1 small onion, thinly slice
4)      1 small carrot, ¼” thick dice (½ cup of diced carrots)
5)      1 small leek, ¼” thick slice (¼ cup of sliced leeks)
6)      200g enoki mushrooms, trim the ends off and separate (optional)
7)      2 litres of hot (filtered) water
8)      2 dried bay leaves
9)      1 sprig of thyme
10)   ½ lemon (optional)
11)   2 teaspoons vegetable oil
12)   Salt and black pepper

Methods
-        Place the chicken carcass and chicken breast (if using) in a large pot and cover it with cold water (you can use normal tap water for this stage). Place the pot over medium-high heat. Once the water starts to boil, and scum begins to form at the edge of the pot, remove the pot from heat.
-        Remove the chicken carcass and chicken breast (if using) and place it on a plate. Set aside. Drain the water from the pot.
-        Shred the chicken breast into small pieces and place it on a plate (where the chicken carcass is) and set aside.
-        Using the same pot, add in the vegetable oil and place it over low-medium heat. Once the oil is heated, add in the onion, bay leaves and thyme, and gently sweat the onion. Stir the pot occasionally. This is to gently soften the onion. If you notice that the onions are starting to brown, you can add in a few teaspoons of water to stop the browning.
-        Once the onion is soften, add in the carrots and leeks and continue to cook them for 5 minutes. At this stage, you can season the vegetables with a good sprinkle of salt.
-        As the vegetables start to soften, add in the chicken carcass and the hot water, and reduce the heat to low. Let the stock simmer for at least 30 minutes.
-        While the stock is simmering, remove any excess scum and oil with a ladle or a skimming spoon.
-        Taste the stock and add in salt and pepper.
-        At the last 15 minutes of cooking, add in the lemon if using.
-        Before turning the heat off, using a pair of tongs or chopsticks, squeeze the lemon. Remove the chicken carcass, bay leaves and thyme. Taste and season accordingly.
-        If you are using the stock for risotto or any dishes, there is no need to add in enoki mushroom and chicken breast. Pass the stock through a sieve to remove the vegetables and use the stock accordingly. Any leftover stock can be kept in the freezer for up to 1 month
-        To transform the stock to chicken soup, add in the enoki mushroom and shredded chicken breast at the last 15 minutes of cooking. To bulk up the chicken soup, you can add in cooked lentils or pasta.

*If you do not want to buy a whole chicken, you can keep the bones from leftover roast chicken. You can also buy chicken carcass from both wet market and supermarket.