Basic Chicken Stock

Also works with turkey

Yield: About 2 to 3 quarts

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Homemade stocks are economical, nutritious and so very versatile. The French call the category of stocks Fonds de Cuisine, which translates to mean “the very foundations of cooking.”

When I was working in restaurants, the sight and delightful smell of freshly simmering stocks of all kinds, quietly bubbling away in their huge shiny pots, were the very background of all other activity. Like the artistic backdrop of a great play, a delicious stock is the building block for so many wonderful, simple and nutritious dishes — the rest of the action is defined by it. As we’ll illustrate here, homemade stocks are not only simple to make but quite satisfying to create, full of good things (not the least of which is love) and so convenient to store for future creations.



Use good-quality chicken, either fresh or previously frozen. You may use bones that have the meat trimmed from them, or choose whole pieces. If you have chicken pieces with multiple joints, such as wings, cut into the joint with a knife to expose the collagen in the joints; this will give the stock a richer texture.

With a length of kitchen twine, tie the sprigs of herbs together with the bay leaves into a bundle. This is your bouquet garni.

Place the chicken, carrots, celery, onions, leeks, garlic, tomatoes, bouquet garni, cloves and peppercorns in a large soup pot and add enough cold water to cover them by about 2 inches (about 4 quarts). Bring the pot to a simmer, and skim any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat so the liquid is barely simmering.

You should only see a few bubbles intermittently rising to the surface. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours. During the cooking process, add a little more liquid to the pot if needed to keep the ingredients submerged.

Strain the stock, pressing hard on the meat and vegetables to squeeze out the juices. Discard the meat and vegetables.

Season the stock with salt and pepper.

You may remove the excess fat from the surface of the stock by either skimming with a ladle, using a fat separator or you may place the stock in the refrigerator overnight and remove the solid fat layer that rises to the top.

Important note: With a batch of stock this size it is important to cool it as quickly as possible. Here are 2 good methods:

1) Place the pot in a bath of ice water in your sink, and stir occasionally until it is cooled, then refrigerate.

2) Let the stock cool for about 15 minutes, then pour into individual canning jars (cleaned and sterilized) and put them directly in the refrigerator. Leave a little room at the top of the jar to allow for expansion when freezing. Later you can scoop the fat layer from the top.

You can store the stock in the refrigerator for several days or if you are not going to use it within that period, freeze it for up to several months.

The strained and defatted stock can be further reduced for concentrated flavor by simmering it rapidly in an uncovered pot until reduced by half or more. Take care to begin with lightly salted stock for this step, since this will concentrate the salinity.

Recipe by Lynne Vea, PCC Chef

Lynne Vea


Lynne Vea is a graduate of the Executive Chef Program at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and has been cooking with PCC Natural Markets since 2001. Featured on King-5’s "Gardening with Ciscoe," she demonstrates easy and delicious recipes using seasonal ingredients.

Lynne is an admired PCC Cooks instructor, teaching a variety of popular PCC Cooks classes throughout the year.

She loves to collect old cookbooks, hunt for wild berries, and cook seven-course dinners where the guests are encouraged to dance and cavort between courses.

Find more recipes from Lynne.

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More about: chicken, soup


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