Dark Chicken Stock Recipe

Stock Pot Ready to Cook
Photo Elaine Lemm
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 3 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 8 servings

I am often asked why when there are so many stock cubes and bottled substitutes on the market why do I make chicken stock. To me, it is like having the choice of a wonderful painting hanging on the wall, something that has been worked on and contains depth and personality or hanging a reproduction print. They are both objects to look at but there is no denying the real thing. This stock is more flavorsome than a simple chicken stock so it will add more depth to your soup or stew.


  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 to 3 chicken carcasses (broken into pieces)
  • 1/2 glass red wine (or a shot of brandy or Cognac)
  • 1 carrot (peeled and roughly chopped)
  • 1 stalk celery (chopped)
  • 1/2 leek (cleaned and sliced roughly)
  • 1 onion (with skin on, halved)
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • 1 bouquet garni (see note below)

Steps to Make It

This recipe also makes a good substitute when a recipe calls for veal stock.

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a large stockpot or pan heat the oil, add the bones and brown, stirring constantly. Remove the bones and keep to one side.

  3. Pour off excess oil, place the pan back onto a high heat and when smoking slightly add the wine or cognac and scrape up all the juices and bits from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat slightly, add the chopped carrot and celery and stir around in the juices for a few minutes. Add the bones to the vegetables and cover with cold water.

  4. Blacken the cut sides of the onion by holding them over a high heat, this will add color and flavor to the stock. When the cut side is completely blackened add it to the stockpot with the garlic, pot with the garlic, bouquet garni and peppercorns. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 hours skimming frequently to remove scum and grease. DO NOT BOIL as this will make the stock greasy and cloudy in appearance.

  5. After a maximum 3 hours, remove from the heat and cool down rapidly. If possible leave overnight in a cold place and next day remove any fat from the surface. Strain, bring back to the boil and reduce to strengthen the flavor or reduce by two-thirds if freezing. Cool the remaining stock down, pack into small containers and freeze.


  • Freeze chicken carcasses as and when they are available (after a Sunday lunch or making a chicken soup) and make stock when you have enough carcasses to make a large pot of stock.
  • A bouquet garni is a selection of herbs to help flavor the liquid of the stock. Use a couple of bay leaves, a few parsley stalks and a tiny sprig if thyme. Tie these together with string or wrap in a small square of muslin.