Heston Blumenthal's Chicken Stock
I am a rabid fan of Heston. There are many people who think he's crazy, and he probably is, but I just LOVE the inquisitive nature of this man because I think I share the same spirit. I think that since I've started following his work I've had a better understanding of what I'm doing in the kitchen, and his devotion to creating the ultimate dining experiences have completely inspired me.
And so, after watching a show entitled, "How to Cook Like Heston"- where in each episode he focuses on one ingredient and explains what you can do with it - I've decided to try out the chicken stock recipe that I saw on the show.
I've tweaked it a little to what I have access to at home, but feel free to click the link above for the official recipe.
Heston Blumenthal's Chicken Stock
2kg Chicken Wings
1 chicken carcass
2 tbsp Skim Milk Powder
1 medium brown onion, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
100g mushrooms, quartered
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 tbsp oil
First roast off your chicken. I like to use a disposable roasting tray for this because I'm not particularly keen on scraping the bottom of my usual roasting tray. Pre-heat your oven to 200C place the chicken in a roasting tray and sprinkle over the skim milk powder. The milk powder is there to help the maillard reactions occur in the food. A maillard reaction requires proteins, and milk - and milk powder for that matter - contains the proteins that would encourage this reaction to happen. No oil, no salt. Just chicken wings and milk powder roasting.
The result? Beautifully brown chicken wings that actually taste gosh-darn amazing! I had to stop myself from picking off all the bits of skin and eating it all. I did turn the wings once or twice during the roasting, but I didn't quite turn them every 20 minutes like the recipe said. What I found to be more effective was actually separating the different parts of the wing and scattering the milk powder over the wings.
While the wings are in the oven, start sautéeing your veggies. Turn the heat onto medium high, then add your oil - I used olive - and put the onions in the pan. Once the onions are lightly golden, add your carrots.
Now you're probably thinking the same thing that I was: If I only put the carrots in now, Surely the onions will catch and burn. But no, I trusted in the Heston, and it paid off. I just kept stirring the pot, and the onions only got browner as the carrots caramelised. Once the carrots start getting nice and brown, add your mushrooms and crushed garlic.
While the vegetables are cooking away, put a kettle on to boil. I find that the hot water helps me get all the bits off the bottom of the roasting tray much more easily, so I don't waste any bits. When your chicken is done, place them into a bowl (or the pot if your veggies are ready) and scrape off all those brown bits in the bottom of the roasting tray.
Then simply add everything into the stock pot and just cover with hot water. Let the stock slowly simmer away till it tastes intensely of chicken. The original recipe calls for a pressure cooker, but I don't have a pressure cooker ready to hand, so I did this the old fashioned way and cooked it away for hours. I did also top it up every so often with a splash of hot water from a kettle, but feel free to pressure cook it for 2 hours if you'd like.
Once the stock is done, just strain the stock and put it in the fridge. The scum and oil will separate onto the top where you can just take it off later, without having to stand for hours skimming.
If you want to go one step further and clarify the stock, simply freeze the stock into ice cubes and then let it slowly defrost through muslin set over a colander or strainer.
The gelatin will hold any impurities that the stock has, and what you are left with is...Consummé! Superclear, and super intense. I adjusted the seasoning again once I've warmed the stock up to serve and I've found that just a touch of soy actually makes the aromas and flavours just bloom in my mouth.
Heston did have a serving suggestion for this beautiful chicken stock: Simply place a jasmine bloom in a glass (or brew the jasmine in warmed consummé) and serve as a drink.
I absolutely love how the aromatics of the chicken stock just hit me straight off the bat. Upon drinking it, the flavours just slowly bloom in my mouth like a shy flower being kissed by the sun. Then the jasmine just chases up the end and cleanses the palette, leaving you ready for the next mouthful.
This recipe is the bomb diggity, and I think it's so accessible to the home cook. So worth trying, and I don't feel like it took me any more effort than if I was going to use another stock recipe.