Preparing a Chicken Stock

Chicken stock is the base for a chicken broth.
Photo by Lisa Redfearn, c/o Pixabay.

A simple chicken stock is ideal for risottos, consommés, soups and any other type of recipe that demands a full flavoured and tasty base. I’ve used this recipe for a variety of soup bases. If I have to I will even prepare the stock as I’m making another dish that demands it. A soup containing chicken pieces is ideal if the ingredient is to hand. By the way this is probably as close to a white chicken stock as can be mustered. You can prepare brown chicken stocks which ate almost the same except they use mushrooms and lots of brown chicken meat too.

A clearer stock is prepared if the chicken is not brought to the boil because it simply emulsifies fat and particles to produce a cloudy liquid. Ideally, the best way is to just bring the stock to a point of temperature before it boils.

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  • 1 – 1½kg chicken carcasses, wings, roasted pieces, skin even
  • 1 carrot, cut into slices and chunks
  • 1 onion or a couple of shallots, skin can be left on, cut into quarters
  • 1 leek (white part only), cut and roughly sliced into pieces
  • 2 stalks of celery with leaves attached – chopped roughly
  • 1 or 2 garlic cloves, bruised, bashed or sliced
  • A bouquet garni of 2 or 3 parsley stalks, 2 or 3 sprigs of thyme and 1 or 2 bay leaves, tied with string
  • 5 peppercorns
  • a pinch of salt 
  • 2 litres of water


About 5 minutes to start preparing and three hours for a full simmer

  1. Place all the ingredients into a large lidded saucepan. I prefer a heavy bottom one such as those by Le Creuset but I do also use large stock pots for this type of purpose.
  2. Add a pinch of salt then cover with 2 litres of water.
  3. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 3 hours, skimming when needed. Check that the stock does not boil over or run dry.
  4. Pass through a fine sieve or a muslin-covered bowl. It doesn’t need to be as clear as a consommé. It very often develops a head of fat which should be skimmed off and discarded especially if it is cooled in the fridge.

Will keep in the fridge for a week and for three months in the freezer. I store in covered Kilner jars or large plastic tubs with tightly fitting lids if kept in a fridge. The plastic tubs work well in a freezer as glass will fracture when its frozen with liquid. It’s not worth the risk.

Check out the article on preparing a fish stock as the processes involved are very similar. 

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