When it comes to stock-making, there are no real rules. (I would argue that there are no real rules to cooking in general, but I’ll hold off on that one for now). Depending on whether you’re making a Western style of stock or an Asian one, the ingredients will vary widely. Western stocks usually have a base of celery, onions, carrots, parsley and black peppercorns simmered with bones (or just the vegetables listed above for a vegetarian version). A Chinese stock has a more robust set of aromatics that go into it: ginger, garlic, spring onions, shiitake mushrooms and Sichuan peppercorns. The meat component is usually a whole chicken unlike the chicken carcass in Western stocks. In both cases, the stock is simmered low and slow for at least half hour, ideally 1-2 hours, to achieve maximum flavour intensity.
When I roast a full chicken, which is not often, I like to freeze the carcass to make stock with. Otherwise I like to use chicken wings. Wings are an inexpensive cut of meat, have bones in them (essential for flavour), and I also ask the butcher the leave the skin on (more fat = more flavour).
Hack the wings into smaller pieces before browning in a pot with the aromats. Add water to the pot and forget about it for a couple of hours. Once cooked, fish out the pieces of chicken from the pot and remove the meat from them with your fingers. Reserve the shredded meat for serving with your dish. When I go through the process of making a batch of stock, I always plan for a big enough one that ensures I’ll have enough to freeze. The stock can be used right away, refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to three months.
This is a basic chicken stock that can be used to flavour a whole range of dishes, like you would, with a stock cube. A splosh goes a long way in enhancing a stir-fry, side dish or soup. My favourite though: cooked soba noodles tossed with a little sesame oil and shiitake mushrooms. Shredded chicken pieces go in and the hot stock poured over. Season with a little chilli oil and soy sauce and slurp, you must!