Chicken stock

Chicken stock

New Middle Eastern Food
2.5 litres
Mark Roper

A good stock is the key to making a good soup (and also many braised dishes and savoury sauces) as it provides a richness and depth of flavour that just won’t be there other wise. And although some butchers’ shops and delicatessens sell good ‘homemade’ stocks, neither these, nor the supermarket variety, will give as much flavour as a stock you make yourself.

Stocks are not technically hard to make — you just put everything in a pot and simmer away until all flavour and body are extracted from the bones and vegetables. However, you can’t just rustle one up when you fancy making a soup, so you need to be organised enough to have stock on hand in the fridge or freezer.

There are a few key things to remember when making a stock to achieve a clear, richly flavoured result. First, don’t allow the stock to boil or it will turn cloudy. As it simmers, skim away any impurities that rise to the surface, and finally, when it’s ready, ladle the liquid out so as not to disturb the solids.


Quantity Ingredient
3kg chicken carcasses
1 onion, cut into quarters
2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
1 leek, roughly chopped, white part only
2 garlic cloves, halved
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme


  1. Rinse the chicken carcasses and then put them in a 5 litre stockpot. Pour on enough water to cover the bones generously, then add the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil, skimming away any fat and impurities that rise to the surface, then lower the heat immediately. Cover the pot and simmer very gently for 2 hours, skimming from time to time.
  2. Carefully ladle the stock into a container, discarding the solids. (Don’t be tempted to tip it all into a sieve: the less you disturb the solids at this stage, the clearer the final stock will be. I find the best method is to use a sieve to keep the solids submerged while you ladle out the liquid.)
  3. Refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for later use.
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