How to make a simple white stock with chicken

Kitchen masterclass: As part of our new collaboration with Leiths School of Food and Wine, we learn how to make a white stock which, as the backbone to traditional cooking, is essential for so many dishes

Chicken Stock

Makes 1 litre (in a 10-litre stockpot)

3kg raw chicken carcasses
3 onions
2 carrots
4 celery sticks
Handful of parsley stalks
Few thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
Few black peppercorns
Handful of button mushrooms

1.    Trim any excess fat from the chicken carcasses and cut them in half if you need to in order to fit them in your pot. Peel the onions and carrots and cut them and the celery into large chunks. Put the chicken in a tall stockpot and add enough cold water to cover. Place over a medium to high heat and bring slowly to the boil. Immediately turn down once it starts boiling and dépouiller the stock (see note). 

2.    Skim off the fat and scum that will have risen to the surface, until the stock is as clear as possible. Add the vegetables, along with the herbs, bay leaves and peppercorns, to the stockpot. Add more cold water to cover the bones and vegetables if you need to. Simmer very gently for 2 – 3 hours, skimming occasionally.

3.    Strain the stock carefully through a fine sieve, or chinois, into a clean pan and reduce over a medium heat to the required concentration of flavour for use. 

4.    Alternatively, to store the stock, continue to reduce it until slightly ‘sticky’ when tested between thumb and finger. The stock can be cooled, refrigerated and kept for up to 3 days in the fridge, or frozen for up to 3 months. 

Note: Dépouiller is a technique which involves splashing a large amount of water into a stock (about 500ml for a 10-litre stockpot), generally as it is coming up to the boil. This helps to lower the temperature and most importantly to solidify fat and scum, lifting it to the surface ready for skimming. You can also dépouiller during the simmering process if there if a lot of fat and scum present.

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