Chicken Stock

Make and freeze delicious chicken stock at home. Easy to make, cheap and very little mess.

I confess I strayed back to the shelves of stock powder and cubes. I convinced myself that the cute little plastic pots were the real deal. Then I read the ingredients . . .

A well-known brand of chicken stock cube contains: Salt, maize flour, vegetable fat (palm fruit, TBHQ), potassium chloride, flavour enhancers (MSG E631, E627), hydrogenated vegetable fat (palm fruit), and so on. Keep in mind ingredients are listed in order of quantity. Nowhere in that list, not even right at the end, was there chicken in that cube. Chicken flavour. Yeah right.

Chicken stock: my ingredients.

3 Frozen chicken carcasses. (After a Sunday lunch, I wrap the bony carcass in clingfilm and freeze.)
One or two large onions, peeled and cut into large chunks
3 -4 Carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
3 – 4 Sticks of celery, including the leaves
4 – 5 Cloves of garlic, unpeeled, but cut in half
1 -2 Whole chillies
4 Bay leaves (fresh if you can get)
Any fresh herbs – rosemary, parsley, thyme, or dried
About six whole black pepper corns
Add no salt. This is not a concentrated stock, but its purpose is to add complex flavours to food. You can add salt as you cook.

The onions, carrots and celery are kind of essential, as these form the basis of a classic soffritto. I would have added leeks if I had them.


Put everything in the biggest pot you have. If you have a tall stock pot, use that. Cover with cold water.

Bring the water to a slow boil and adjust the temperature until the contents are hot and your pot can maintain a low simmer. Put the lid on and let simmer for 3 – 4 hours. This kind of stock does not require initial skimming.

Your stock is now almost done. All that remains it to get rid of the solids and strain the stock without mess.

Easy way to finish stock

Our refuse removal comes on a Tuesday, so I will make stock on a Monday, Sunday at a stretch. This way I spend the least amount of time with the discarded mush.

Remove most of the solids with a slotted spoon and discard in the bin. Don’t put it in your compost.

Now you need another pair of hands. Work in your kitchen sink. Place a colander over another large pot and pour the stock through it. Discard the bits. Repeat a few times.

Still using the same two pots, pour the stock through a sieve several times.

Use a pouring jug to fill plastic freezer ice-cube bags.

This recipe makes in excess of 300 cubes. I use between 3 and 8 cubes at a time. The cost is minimal, the taste is great and you know what goes into your food. Although it takes half a day to make, the total time spent hands-on making your chicken stock, from taking out the pot to freezing the bags, is less than 45 minutes.

You can pop the ice cubes directly into the pot, or melt is a bit of boiling water. Use in soups, stews, braised dishes or add to a soffritto as the next layer of taste.

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