Chicken stock

Chicken stock

3 litres
Dean Cambray

There’s nothing like a pot of chicken stock on the stove to fill the house with mouth-watering aromas. There’s something wonderfully reassuring and comforting about it, and it always makes me feel right at home.

Chicken stock is a great ‘use-it-for-anything-and-everything’ kind of stock. When I worked in a seafood restaurant, we even used chicken stock for making seafood risottos, because it adds a satisfying depth of flavour, without being overpowering. A good chicken stock provides you with the basis for all manner of dishes, from risottos and braises to soups and sauces. And as we all know, a steaming bowl of chicken broth (with a little fresh ginger and garlic) is a cure for all kinds of ailments.

As with stocks made from other meats, I make both white and brown chicken stocks. Although they are made from the same basic ingredients, with brown stocks, the bones and vegetables are thoroughly browned – usually by roasting in the oven – before adding water. As a result, brown stocks are darker in colour and have a richer, fuller flavour than white stocks. They have different uses, too: white stocks are perfect for delicate sauces and soups, whereas brown stocks are better for robust stews and braises or for strong, intense sauces.

Many recipes ask you to skim away all the fat that rises to the surface of your stock as it cooks and to scrape off the solid fat that settles after it’s chilled. I’m not one for doing much skimming or scraping. I do scoop off any scummy bits and foam that come to the surface, as they can cook back into the stock and make it bitter, but I tend to leave the fat as I think it really adds to the flavour of the stock.

Once the stock has cooled down a bit, there are two ways to strain it. For a more rustic style, simply pour it through a fine sieve into a jug or bowl. For a clearer, more refined stock, or if you’re making clear broths or consommés, carefully ladle the stock out of the pot into a fine sieve. Leave to cool completely, then divide into batches and refrigerate or freeze. It keeps well in the fridge for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Use the same quantities and method to make white and brown turkey stock.

White chicken stock


Quantity Ingredient
1kg raw chicken bones
or 1kg boiling chicken
200g chicken wing tips, (I trim these off whole chooks before roasting, and collect them in bags in the freezer just for making stock)
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 stick celery, roughly chopped
1 leek, white part only, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, halved
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
4 black peppercorns
6 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup parsley leaves


  1. If using raw chicken bones, wash them briefly in cold water to remove any bloody bits.
  2. Place all the chicken pieces in a stockpot or large saucepan and pour on enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil slowly. Use a ladle to skim away the foam or other impurities that rise to the surface. When the stock boils, lower the heat and add all the remaining ingredients, reserving half the thyme and the parsley leaves. Simmer very gently for 2 hours, skimming away any foam from time to time. Top up with more cold water as necessary; the chicken pieces should always be completely covered with water.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and throw in the rest of the thyme and the parsley leaves. Leave it to sit for 20 minutes or so to allow the sediment to settle and to freshen the flavour. Strain and, when completely cold, divide into batches and refrigerate or freeze.
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