Quick Stock

But what if you have no chicken stock in the fridge? Then substitute a light stock based on a bouillon cube or a can of chicken consommé.

While throwing up your arms in horror at the idea of using a stock cube, it is worth remembering that as this is written, there are moves afoot in Brussels to make fresh stock production in professional kitchens illegal because of the dangers of bacterial contamination. I accept this is a real risk where large quantities of liquid are used, since they take so long to cool and hover around a dangerous temperature in the warmth of the kitchen for a long time.

You can imagine the enthusiastic lobbying going on at the EC by the manufacturers of stock cubes to get this legal restriction enforced, so having an acceptable alternative to the real thing is simply being pragmatic

This recipe makes about 1 litre / 1¾pt.

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  • 1 or 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 or 3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 glass (150ml/¼pt) of white wine
  • 1 chicken stock cube or can of chicken consommé


  • large saucepan
  • sieve


Mise en Place

Coarsely chop the vegetables. Heat some sunflower oil in a saucepan, and brown the vegetables and bay leaf.

Add the wine and bubble the mixture for a minute. Then pour in just over 1 litre / ¾pt of cold water.

Crumble in a chicken stock cube: you must decide which brand you like best If using a can of consommé, put this in a measuring jug first, topping up with water to make slightly more than the 1 litre / 1¾pt of liquid (to allow for evaporation).

Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for half an hour. Whether using canned consommé or a stock cube, beware of the salt content which tends to be high. Experience with your preferred brand will tell you whether or not you should dilute to taste. After half an hour, strain and return to the saucepan.

If you have any scraps of cooked chicken or the carcass of a previously roasted chicken lying about then add to the stock. No need to skim, but extend the cooking time to an hour from the point when the liquid comes to the boil.