How to make rich, delicious chicken stock (without using a stock cube)

Neil Perry's soba noodles in chilled chicken broth.
Neil Perry's soba noodles in chilled chicken broth. Photo: William Meppem

I have recently been comparing recipes for chicken stock by eminent chefs and while the ingredients don't vary much, the cooking times do – from 90 minutes in a Michel Roux recipe to eight hours suggested by Samin Nosrat. G. Hayes

Real stock sets like jelly. This is because it is jelly. The connective tissue from the meat changes from collagen to gelatin in water when heated. Gelatin gives dishes their delicious lip-smacking mouth feel. To make a good chicken stock, you want plenty of bones with joints. Wings and back carcass pieces are good. Chop into small pieces and add aromatic vegetables such as carrots and celery. Cover with water and simmer. Skim regularly. If you boil the stock, the fat will emulsify into the liquid. This is OK if you don't mind a cloudy stock but not good if you're using the stock to make a clear sauce. After about an hour the chicken will have given up much of its flavour and you will have a tasty but thin broth. The collagen takes about four hours to break down. After this you can strain the stock and reduce it further. I pour mine into small containers and freeze them. I keep the chicken fat and use this to saute vegetables when making a slow-cooked dish or soup.

What is bronze die pasta? L. Selwyn

There's a chef down on the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne called Kobi Watson. He's 19 years old but cooks like a nonna. He has his own pasta machine that dates back to early last century. It looks like a long potato ricer mounted on a carpenter's wooden horse. At the end of its long tube is a bronze plate, called a die, into which is drilled lots of little holes. Watson puts the wet pasta dough into the tube, then presses it down using a lever. The force pushes the dough through the holes to make strands of spaghetti. Bronze offers the dough quite a bit of resistance. This creates a rough surface on the pasta and an open texture to the pasta itself. This allows sauce to not only stick to the pasta, but also permeate the pasta itself. Bronze die pasta is an older method of making pasta – modern pasta is made with Teflon dies. Modern pasta has a smoother, less porous surface and is dried quickly at higher temperatures. Some research suggests that bronze die pasta is easier to digest. Judging by the pasta Watson serves at his eponymous restaurant, Kobi Jack's (Jack is his middle name), bronze die pasta certainly tastes exceptionally good. You can buy dried bronze die pasta in good food stores.

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