A few simple steps will create a simmer of intoxicating aromas that can take an ordinary dish to extraordinary heights.

Most common stocks are not stock at all, rather a broth produced by poaching meat or poultry in water for a short time, allowing flavour to remain in the meat and vegetables, to be reserved for another dish. The French word for broth is bouillon. We think of commercial cubed bouillon as stock, however the flavour is much lighter than that of a true stock.

Stock is the liquid left behind when water, bones and flavourings are simmered over a long period of time, strained and simmered further into a reduction of highly concentrated flavour. A well-made stock is clear with no particles and settles into a gelatinous texture when cooled.

A good homemade stock makes all the difference, and should be kept on hand at all times.

To be used:• in place of butter or oil in recipes• to add flavour with less fat• as a thinner for soups or sauces• as a base for soups, stews, gravy or• as liquid in rice pilaf and mashed potatoes

Recipe & food styling Marisa Curatolo. Photography Cory Aronec.

Recipe & food styling Marisa Curatolo. Photography Cory Aronec.

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  • Duration
  • Cook Time
  • Prep Time
  • 8 cupsServings

Ingredients

Stock

  • 1 (4-pound) whole chicken or chicken legs and backs
  • 16 cups cold water
  • 1 large cooking onion, quartered
  • 2 medium carrots, whole
  • 1 leek, white parts only, washed, coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, whole
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • Coarse salt to taste

Bouquet garni

  • 1 bay leaf
  • 8 fresh at leaf parsley sprigs
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig
  • 1 leek leaf

Preparation

For the bouquet garni, place bay leaf, parsley and thyme on the leek leaf and tie securely with a piece of string.

Rinse chicken under cold water and place in a large stock pot; cover with cold water. Bring just to boil. Reduce to simmer, skim off any foam that collects on surface. Add onions, carrots, leek, celery, peppercorns and bouquet garni. Simmer for 3 hours, skimming foam and fat occasionally.

Strain stock through colander lined with cheesecloth, or fine mesh strainer. Discard chicken and flavourings and season generously with salt to bring out the flavour. Return stock to clean stockpot and cook for an additional 30 minutes on low heat, to further concentrate. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Refrigerate until fat rises to surface and liquid congeals. 

If stock is used within 3 to 5 days, skim fat just before use. For longer keeping, skim fat from stock, warm to liquify and pour into ice cube trays. Freeze, then transfer stock cubes to freezer bags and freeze up to 3 months.