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Meat Stock Basics

Making stock will enhance to your culinary skills


Meat Stock Basics


Making your own meat stock is the most important skill of any cook.  It can transform your cooking in every way.  The easiest way to learn is to begin with Chicken stock.


BASIC INGREDIENTS: (For a 12-quart stock pan)


8 Lb. meat bones, necks, backs, wings joints, legs, shanks along with meat scraps.  Fresh for light stock, roasted for dark stock, or left-overs.


2 Lb. Chopped aromatics and a sachet:  1 onion, 1 leek, 2 celery

stalks,1 carrot, 1 bay leaf, 5 peppercorns, sprig of parsley. 

         5-6 Quarts water (enough to cover with water.)




        Bring the liquid to a boil on Medium and simmer gently for 3 hours.  If the stock is quite clear, you may simmer it longer.


        Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or through a colander lined with a dampened cloth kitchen towel or dampened paper towels.


        Allow the stock to cool. Then remove the surface fat and freeze the stock in glass jars or heavy plastic tubs.


        When needed, you may thaw the stock in a sink overnight or uncover and microwave the stock.


Tim’s Enhanced Stock Procedures for Poultry


Poultry stock requires parts that may include bones, cartilage, fat, skin and legs.  Do not include the liver or kidneys.  For clarity, we will discuss chicken stock.  Other poultry would follow the same procedures.


Buy chicken that is not “enhanced” (injected) with a salt solution or broth, during processing.  Cook the whole chicken or remove parts to cook.  After a meal, separate left overs at joints and chop back and breast bones in half.  Place this in freezer bags after every meal.  Store bags for months in a good freezer to collect enough to fill your stock-pot.  Thanksgiving is wonderful time to gather left-over turkey carcasses from friends.  You can make a large quantity of reduced stock, gravy base or homemade soups to share with those same friends. 


“MIS EN PLACE” means every ingredient is prepared and put in order before you begin cooking.  This assures you that needed ingredients are in your kitchen.  It makes it easy to add ingredients in the proper order and to verify the appropriate ratios for the recipe.


Gather chicken parts.  Cut fresh chicken into manageable pieces and place in a plastic bag.  NOTE: A combination of dark/white chicken parts, skin and joints will provide a better balance with more gelatin in your final stock.  You might want to add chicken legs to increase the gelatinous nature of your stock.  The goal is to have a stock that easily gels at lower temperatures.  You want the stock-pot nearly filled with chicken parts.  Place any frozen bags in a sink to partially thaw why you prep the vegetables.


Gather the vegetables adjacent to a large cutting board.  Whole onions are diced and placed in an open bowl.  The remaining vegetables (leeks, celery stalks and carrots) are diced and placed in another large bowl.  You may Include left-over greens from leeks, onions and garlic.  You may also skip the aromatics at this time.


The following ingredients should fit in an 8-quart stock pot:  Placed in this order.

1 Large diced onion at the bottom of the stockpot.  NOTE: A blackened onion does not taste burnt.

2 Diced celery stalks, 1 diced large carrot, 1 large diced leek.

1 Bouquet Garni (optional)

3 Pounds of chicken bones or parts.

2 Quarts of water or enough to cover the solids by 2 inches.


Bring stock uncovered to a slow simmer over low heat for 2 hours.  NEVER STIR STOCK.  When the temp approaches 180F, reduce the heat or move the pot to a smaller heater on low.  The stock should not boil.  (If the stock boils and gray scum appears on the surface, carefully remove scum with a large spoon.)  You want to maintain a slow simmer for up to three hours.


Place the stockpot uncovered in a 200°F oven overnight for rich flavors with lots of gelatin.


The next day you pour the stock through a fine strainer.  (See Video below.)  Refrigerate and remove fat from the surface.  Finally, reduce with shallots/wine and freeze in appropriate containers.

Stock transfer


DUCK – Brown Duck Stock Recipe by Tim


Fresh bones are roasted with vegetables and then simmered on the stovetop with aromatics to produce a rich brown duck stock.

Roasting fresh bones and adding vegetables and roasting them to brown make for deep, complex, flavor for a rich brown stock that can be used as-is in a variety of recipes or can be reduced further for sauces like rich and savory duck jus.

Yield:         Makes about 2 quarts (2L)


2 to 3 pound of fresh duck bones, cut into 3- to 4-inch pieces to expose marrow.

Spray some canola oil, for coating

1 large yellow onion, about 1/2 pound, cut into 2-inch pieces

2 carrots (4 ounces), peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces

2 celery ribs (4 ounces), cut into 2-inch pieces

1 cup dry red wine

1 tablespoon tomato paste

2 sprigs fresh thyme

2 sprigs fresh parsley

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns



Preheat oven to 400°F with rack set in middle position.

Place bones in a large bowl. Spray duck bones with oil until lightly coated on all sides.

Place bones in a single layer on a roasting pan or baking sheet.

Roast bones till well colored - 30 minutes. turning once or twice to even the color. 


Meanwhile, toss vegetables with oil in a bowl until lightly coated all over.  When the bones are ready. scatter vegetables over bones in an even a layer.  Roast until bones and vegetables are well-browned, about 30 minutes longer.

Transfer bones and vegetables to a stockpot.  (Reserve any duck fat to be strained for later).  Add wine and tomato paste to roaster.  Deglaze the roaster and scrape up browned bits to add to the stockpot.

Add aromatics to stockpot.  Add enough cold water to stock pot to cover bones and vegetables by 2-3 inches. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to simmer. Simmer, occasionally skimming off foam and fat that rises to surface with ladle.

Continue simmering until stock is well-flavored, deep reddish brown, and reduced by about a third, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  You may also place overnight in a 200°F oven.

Let stock cool slightly, then place a round cooling rack in the stock pot.  Hold the rack in place and strain through fine-mesh strainer in another sauce/stock pot.  (See the video of a 1 minute stock transfer above.)

Use immediately or cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating or freezing. (When chilled, fat on the surface of stock will solidify, making it easy to remove with spoon).



Rich Chicken Stock by Bruce Naftaly


This lengthy recipe, from Bon Appetit in December 1986 motivated me to expand my knowledge of French preparations including remouillage, couli, jus, demi-glace, glace de viande and Sauce Espagnole.  I have been making stocks since the 1980’s and have 6 or 8 different stocks in my basement freezer.  I hope these methods will also inspire you.


The next page and following techniques provide new ways to make your own stocks.  In our kitchen, my procedures have evolved over 40 years.  My current methods produce wonderful stocks with vastly reduced time and effort.  My methods may be highly unusual but work!


Note:  This recipe begins with a simple chicken stock.  That simple chicken stock then goes through separate two reductions, called a triple stock, concentrating flavors at every step.  The first reduction adds fresh stock ingredients for another run and reduced to a demi-glace.  The last reduction adds flavor enhancements for a final reduction to a wonderful glace.

                   Ingredients for the first reduction                            Directions for the first reduction

                      4 pds. Chicken Parts   (Necks, Wings & Backs)                    425F oven with a center rack

                      A Mirepoix:

                                1 medium Onion, diced                                                 Arrange and roast chicken until browned.

                                2 Celery stalks, diced                                                    Turn occasionally.  About 1 hour

                                1 medium Carrot, diced                                                 Add Veggies and roast to brown

                                1 medium Leek, diced                                                   Turn occasionally. About 30 mins.

                                1 cup red blended wine                                                 Transfer to stockpot. Pour off oil.

                                10 black Peppercorns                                                    Deglaze fond with wine and add to stockpot

                                1 Bouquet Garni:                                                            Add seasoning and stock to stockpot.

                                4 Parsley sprigs or stems                                              Bring to boil and skim foam from surface

                                4 Thyme sprigs                                                               Reduce heat & simmer gently

                                1 Bay leaf)                                                                        Reduce stock to 5 cups.

                       2.5 Qts basic Chicken Stock                                                   Strained and degreased

                    Ingredients for the second reduction                              Directions for the second reduction

                       1 Tablespoon Butter                                                                 Put butter in small heavy skillet. Med-Low heat

                       3 Tablespoons minced Shallots                                              When melted, add shallots & stir until soft

                       1/2 cup dry red wine                                                                 Add wine and Thyme.  Bring to boil.

                       2 Thyme sprigs                                                                         Add the stock from the second reduction

                       Stock from first reduction                                                       Recuce to three cups and enjoy

Edited: 9-30-20