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Freezing Chicken Stock

Asked by apesch. Answered on 6th September 2015

Full question

Hi Nigella team! A friend of mine told me she prepares stock cubes by herself and uses them over the cold season. In How To Eat Nigella suggests to freeze the chicken stock, but in a New York apartment there's not enough room for all the food and the chicken stock. Any suggestion regarding this issue? As an Italian, I love to cook beans like cannellini or lentils with a cube! Alessandro

Our answer

Nigella's first book, How To Eat, does have a section in the Basics chaper on making and freezing chicken stock (broth). We do not have any experience of home-made stock cubes that can be kept in the fridge or on the shelf. However you may have seen in Nigella's stock recipe that she suggests boiling down the stock for a stronger flavour and you can take this further so that you are freezing a very concentrated form of the stock, that you can add water back to later. Once you have a stock that you are happy with you will need to note the volume and then return the stock to a clean pan and bring it back to the boil. Boil the stock until it becomes very thick and syrupy. Once the stock starts to become thick you will need to watch the pan and stir occasionally to prevent the stock from burning.

You can then chill the stock in a square or rectangular container, where it will become quite a firm jelly (gell). Divide the jelly into cubes and note how many portions so that you can divide the original volume of stock by the number of portions to work out the amount of water you need to add back when you reconstitute the stock cubes. Or you can portion the concentrate straight into an ice cube tray and freeze immediately. Freeze the cubes on a baking sheet lined with clingfilm (plastic wrap) until solid, then transfer to a plastic bag. The concentarate is best used within 3 months of freezing.

Nigella does also mention in How To Eat that she is not adverse to store-bought stock cubes and since the book was written there has been a big improvement is the quality of stock cubes, powders and concentrates available, as well as supermarkets selling fresh stock, and these can be used in any of Nigella's recipes where stock is called for.

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