The reels of the culinary slot machine have this time rested on a homemade kitchen ingredient that’s propelled into being potentially quite a satisfying meal in itself.
The chicken was one of the very good ones we get from Hugh Phillips‘ stall at Swansea Market; they always makes a good stock – then used with the leftover meat to make a pie or risotto. The alchemy that results in this liquid culinary gold is pretty much as clearly described by Homemade with Mess. However, I had read an off the cuff comment about onions skins improving the colour of your stock; this is something that, I have to admit, I wasn’t that worried about before now but with the beautiful rosy Breton onions it was worth a go. And, of course, as Jane Grigson repeatedly wrote: quinces improve the flavour of everything. Without fresh quince flesh this year I literary fished out the ‘spent’ grated quince from last year’s quince vodka jar, that now not only tasted ready but exceptionally good.
The resulting stock has the look and flavour of a rich soup; not as clear as it could be as I left it simmering too long. A stock to freeze and call on as the basis of something like an extra special ham and bean soup.
I think I overdid it with the amount of onion skins as the remaining carcass was dyed a deep reddish-brown, much like that well-known local inhabitant, the 33,000 year-old Red Lady of Paviland. In her case her now fossil bones are believed to have been originally dyed with red ochre – but you never know, they got the sex wrong when she was first dug up and she turns out to be no lady. She, now he, might have ended up in some Upper Palaeolithic pot with the ruthless aim of making that perfect stock.