How to cook stock

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Serves: 1 (makes 1 litre)
Time to make: 2 hrs 20 mins
Total cost: $2.17 / $2.17 per serve
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  • 1 chicken carcass
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 2 mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh herb sprigs such as parsley, rosemary, thyme
  • 6 peppercorns


Step 1Break carcass into smaller pieces and place in a large pan. Add 2 litres cold water and bring to the boil. With a slotted spoon, remove any scum from surface of stock.

Step 2Add vegetables and flavourings. Half cover pan, reduce heat to very low, and simmer gently for 2 hours until stock is reduced by half.

Step 3Remove pan from heat and strain stock, discarding bones and vegetables. Leave stock to cool before skimming off any fat which rises to the surface.


  • Beef stock: For a meat stock, use chopped raw beef bones. Avoid lamb bones as these give an unpleasant flavour.
  • Vegetable stock: To make 1 litre vegetable stock, place 750g chopped fresh vegetables (such as onion, carrot, leek and celery) in a large pan with a selection of fresh herbs tied together with string. Add 1.5 litres cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and cover for 1 1/2 hours until reduced by half. Remove pan from heat, strain stock, and discard vegetables. Leave to cool. Store in the fridge for up to four days.

HFG tip

  • You will get the best flavour if you use a raw chicken carcass plus the giblets, but a recently cooked roast chicken carcass works well, too.
  • If using parsley in your stock, use the stalks as well as the heads (the stalks have more flavour in them).
  • Take your time – chicken stock needs long, slow cooking in order to extract as much flavour as possible from the bones. The same goes for meat stock, too.
  • Vegetable stocks can be made more quickly. For extra flavour you can add a bouquet garni – a bunch of herbs such as rosemary, thyme and parsley tied together.
  • Stock can be frozen for up to three months – save in 1-cup quantities in ziplock bags. It is best to reduce the stock (rapid-boil stock once bones and vegetables have beern removed) to get a concentrated stock for freezing. Frozen stock can be defrosted or reheated straight from frozen, but should be simmered for at least 10 minutes.
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Health & Fitness

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