The Cottage Smallholder

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Chicken wings can provide both meat and amazing stock

Chicken stock chilled in the icy kitchen overnight

Chicken stock chilled in the icy kitchen overnight

We can’t buy chicken wings in the Newmarket Waitrose. Some people think that wings are a waste of time.

Even my mum says “They have so little meat on them. The other day I was given two at a lunch party. We were all scraping about politely for the meat.”

I agree with the Min Pins – I like chicken wings. Danny does great wings on the Kettle barbecue with hickory chips (lid on). Crisp and smokey tasty. Unbelievably good.

A few weeks ago I wondered why Waitrose didn’t sell chicken wings and came up with a possible answer. They must use the wings to make stock and soup. The best chicken stock is made from wings, in my opinion. Just the right ratio of meat, bone and minimal fat.

So I jumped into The Duchess and purred towards Tesco. Chicken wings were top of our shopping list. When I returned home I covered twice their height in the saucepan with cold water. Added chicken stock cubes (one for every 500 ml) and a handful of finely chopped fresh herbs. I also threw in a finely sliced carrot, stick of celery and a few shallots – the latter were cut in half, leaving the skins on. In the winter a heaped teaspoon of dried herbs would have the same effect as the fresh herbs.

I can almost hear the surprised roar of “Chicken stock cubes – WHY?”

If you have time to study the recipes, most top chefs add chicken stock cubes to their stock and casseroles. The best ones are the organic ones of course. Gallo Organic cubes seem to be a favourite brand with UK chefs. I buy whatever is on offer.

I simmered the wings very, very slowly for an hour. Then removed the meat from the bones – two forks are good for this. The bones were returned to the stock pot for another couple of hours or so.

Using a slotted spoon (I suddenly sound like Delia here!) I removed the bones from the stock and put the saucepan in the extra cold area in the kitchen. The next morning the stock was firm. Put in the fridge for a day it was sliceable!

Sliceable stock is what you need for really good and wholesome soup, sauces and casseroles.
I’m a jelly freak. Happily will eat this sort of meat stock straight from the fridge. We freeze a lot of this type of stock to use later.

But until now we haven’t fished out the wings one hour into the cooking. There was a surprising amount of chicken and quite big chunks too – I’m sorry but I forgot to weigh these but they filled half a pie dish for four. These chicken morsels could be used for a risotto (added right at the end), sandwiches or tossed into the stock right at the end for a healing chicken soup. These would also be great mixed with ham and served with a white sauce. The options are endless.

I rang my mum with my results.“Of course you can’t get chicken wings at Waitrose. Here’s my theory…”

Yesterday we stepped into Waitrose in Cambridge. I cast a cursory glance over the chicken section. I was amazed to see that they had chicken wings!?! So although my theory has been blown out of the water, my mum tucked a pack into her basket and can now test out how much meat and tasty stock that she can make from a pack of wings.

Try this – I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed. Great stock and chicken that can be frozen in handfuls and added to numerous dishes


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  1. Here in Canada, chicken wings are a pub finger-food delicacy, usually fried or baked and then dressed with a sauce (bar-be-que, honey mustard, hot sauce, etc). Because stock is boiled for a long time (and therefore kills all germs!), I’ve often saved the bones and wing tips from such a feast to make a wonderful stock the next day. This way, you get the fun of eating them and the benefit of the stock for future use.

  2. tigsowner

    I’ve been known to fish the wings out, cover them in homemade bbq sauce then crisp in the oven. 1kg to feed a family of 4 with soup next day….yum!

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