Makes 1 litre [Simply multiply up all the quantities equally to make more, it freezes well.]

This recipe also gives instructions for ice-filtering.  This is not a required step, but does give a lovely clear stock.

  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cooking time: 2-3 hours
  • Freezing time [unless using within 3 days]: ≥8 hours
  • Ice filtering [need not be done]: preparation 10 minutes, filtering ~8 hours



  • The carcass of a cooked chicken including skin and any bits left on the carving dish.
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 onion [skin and roots can be left on]
  • 1 stalk celery
  • 6 black peppercorns
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 3 fresh parsley stalks
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme



Heavy-bottomed saucepan of at least 2.5lt capacity (usually equivalent to 18cm diameter) [for one carcass]

Skimming spoon

Fine mesh filter / Chinoise

Large bowl

Ice cube tray(s) [unless intending to use the stock within 3 days] of sufficient capacity in total for the amount of stock you are making  [Alternatively, sterilised containers of 1/2lt capacity – plastic milk ‘bottles’ or freezer bags for liquids are OK.]

Freezer bag(s) [unless intending to use the stock within 3 days]

Colander [if intending to use the ice-filtering technique]

Cling-film or kitchen foil [if intending to use the ice-filtering technique]

2 square muslin cloths 18” [if intending to use the ice-filtering technique]



Roughly break up the carcass(es).

Roughly chop the carrot and celery.

Quarter the onion.

Put all the ingredients into a large pan and cover with cold water (at least 2lt for one carcass).

Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that forms.

Turn down the heat and simmer very gently for 2-3 hours.  Do not cover.  [It should reduce by about half.]

[Alternatively, use less water (around 1.5lt, but enough to cover the bones) and cover the pan while simmering.]

Pass through a fine filter/ Chinoise into a large bowl, cover and allow to cool.

Chill overnight in the refrigerator.

Skim off any fat that has formed on the surface.  [It should have solidified]

Use within 3 days or freeze.


To freeze the stock:

Boil vigorously uncovered to reduce the skimmed stock by half its volume.

Cool to room temperature.

Pour into ice-cube trays and freeze.

When frozen divide the cubes into freezer bags to give roughly 1/4  litre of finished frozen stock per bag; label the bags.

When you want to use the stock, put enough cubes in a jug and add the same amount of boiling water as the original volume of the cubes and allow the ice to melt.  Heating in a microwave oven will assist.  [Stock must be hot when added to an already hot dish – especially a risotto.]

[If your stock is frozen in a container with a narrow neck (e.g. a plastic milk bottle) remove any lid from the container and place it in a bowl so the stock will not drip and defrost in a microwave oven until pourable.  Undo any freezer bag and decant the frozen stock into a bowl or place the bag in a bowl and defrost in a microwave oven.]

To ice-filter the stock:

Do not chill or reduce the stock, but open freeze it, ideally in a colander lined with cling-film or kitchen foil.

Once the stock has fully frozen (allow 24 hours), remove from the freezer and peel off the cling-film / foil [it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t all come off].  Place it in a bowl.  Work quickly from now on.

Make headroom in the refrigerator for a bowl at least the size of the colander with the colander sitting on top (not inside).

Wash (in cold water) and dry the colander and line it completely with a double sheet of muslin.

Place it over the bowl so that its base will remain clear of the top of the stock once it has filtered into the bowl.  Supporting the colander on top of the bowl using flat skewers works OK.

Place the ensemble in the refrigerator and leave for at least 8 hours.  Check, and if any stock remains, leave until all has filtered into the bowl.

The stock will melt and drip through the muslin, leaving the fat and impurities behind.  You will have a wonderfully clear stock in the bowl.

This can be frozen as it is or reduced by half and frozen as above.

Method for a stronger-tasting stock:

Roast the chicken carcass beforehand for 30-40 minutes until well-browned.