Roasted Chicken Stock

From the September/October Issue, “Soup Stars” by Denise Marchessault.

The meatier the chicken bones, the more flavourful the stock. Meaty pieces like legs and thighs make a rich stock in about two hours; whereas backs, for example, will take about four hours. (If you’re using legs and thighs, the meat can be stripped from the bone once your stock is made and used for soup or another use.) Makes about 2 litres of stock.


4 lbs chicken legs, wings, and/or backs, cut into 2-inch chunks

3 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped

1 rib of celery, coarsely chopped

1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped

2 Tbsp tomato paste (optional)

Bouquet garni: fresh thyme leaves, parsley stems, bay leaves and black peppercorns bundled together in a piece of cheesecloth for easy removal


Place chicken pieces, carrots, celery and onion in a roasting pan or baking tray and brown in a 350°F oven, turning as required to brown evenly. This can take up to an hour. (Alternatively, sauté the chicken and vegetables in a large pan on the stove.) If using tomato paste, add it to the roasted chicken pieces and vegetables toward the end of the roasting, as it burns easily.

Transfer the browned meat and vegetables from the roasting pan to a large stockpot. Add enough cold water to just cover the bones. Tuck the bouquet garni between the bones to prevent it from floating to the top.

Drain the fat from the roasting pan and place the pan directly on the stovetop over medium to high heat. Add a bit of water and loosen the browned bits of meat stuck on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Pour this mixture into the stockpot.

Gradually bring the stockpot to a simmer, being careful not to boil. (Boiling the stock agitates the proteins and clouds the stock.) Skim off the foam and impurities that float to the top; do not stir the pot. (The majority of the foam will be captured in the first hour of simmering.) As the stock evaporates, gradually add more water, to keep the bones covered.

Simmer very gently two to four hours. To determine if your stock is ready, ladle half a cup of stock into a cup. Season with a pinch of salt and taste your stock; it should be flavourful.

Strain the stock through a colander and discard the bones, vegetables and bouquet garni. Strain again through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a deep bowl.

Once the stock has cooled, place in the refrigerator overnight or until a layer of fat solidifies on the top of the stock. Remove the solidified fat with a spoon and discard.

The stock can now be used in your favourite recipe or stored in the freezer for later use. It’s very handy to portion stock in freezer bags.

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