Recipe: Basic Chicken Stock

The Cook's Atelier

The Cook's Atelier › Marjorie Taylor is the cook in The Cook’s Atelier. She is a long-time member of ...


Chicken stock is an essential staple ingredient in most kitchens. It is a basic building block that allows the casual, but inventive home cook to whip up a delicious and satisfying meal in minutes. With chicken stock on hand, you can create flavorful soups, sauces, braises and so much more.

The mother-daughter team behind The Cook’s Atelier cooking school in Beaune, France share their recipe for a delicious, basic chicken stock.

As with all stocks, the goal is to remove impurities while extracting as much flavor and gelatin as possible from the bones, vegetables and herbs. Always start your stock with cold water and pay attention to the coverage, more so than the actual measurement of the water. Bring the stock slowly up to heat and maintain a gentle heat for over a long period time and skim, skim, skim.

Makes 8 to 10 cups

One 5 1/2-pound chicken, preferably pasture-raised
About 4 quarts cold water (to cover)
2 large carrots cut into 2-inch chunks
2 large leeks cut into 2-inch chunks, white and light green parts only, carefully washed
1 large yellow onion, root end trimmed flat, peeled, and quartered
1 stalk celery, leaves trimmed off and cut into 2-inch chunks
1 bay leaf
3 or 4 sprigs of fresh thyme


Remove the giblets from the chicken. Rinse the chicken to remove any blood. This is very important for the clarification of the stock. If you don’t,  your stock will be cloudy. Remove the breasts using your boning knife and save for another use. Slash the thigh and leg muscles to enable more flavor to be released during cooking. Place the chicken in a deep 8- to 10-quart stockpot that holds the chicken snugly. Add the water. Bring to a simmer over high heat and skim the foam. Stir the chicken under once to allow the last of the foam to rise. Reduce the heat and continue to skim. Add the vegetables and herbs and slowly bring the liquid back to a simmer, skimming frequently. Once the stock has a bright, chickeny flavor, usually about 4 hours, turn off the heat and allow the stock to rest for 10 minutes to allow any particles left in the stock to settle to the bottom of the stockpot.
Prepare an ice bath. Set a chinois or fine-mesh stainer over a container large enough to hold the stock. Use a ladle to transfer the stock from the pot to the stainer and strain into the container. Do not press on the solids in the strainer or force through any liquid that does not pass on its own; otherwise the stock will be cloudy. Discard any stock that is cloudy with impurities that settle near the bottom of the stockpot.
Place the container in the ice bath to cool the stock rapidly. Stir occasionally until there is no longer any steam rising from container. The stock can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for longer storage.

With so many questionable practices used in making store-bought stocks and broths, making your own chicken stock is a great way to ensure you know exactly what’s in it. Plus, you can adjust the ingredients to suit your palate as much as you like. Happy cooking!

This recipe originally appeared on The Cook’s Atelier. It is partially posted here with permission from the authors.

Photo Credit: The Cook’s Atelier

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