Glace de Volaille (glass duh vohLAHEE) (Homemade Poultry Essence)

Glace de volaille offers the complex intensity of glace de viande but is somewhat more subtle. Whenever I make a chicken (or any fowl), I save the raw gizzard, neck, heart and feet and as much of the cooked carcass as I can salvage and freeze it in heavy-duty plastic freezer bags. At any given time my freezer is always partially filled with the such bags, waiting for enough to justify making stock. Usually I get motivated to make stock when I need freezer space.

room temperature volume ounces/pounds grams/kilograms
chicken and/or duck parts (feet, necks, gizzards, backs, etc.), cut into 2-inch pieces 10 pounds 536 grams
water 12 quarts
6 carrots, scrubbed, cut into 1-inch chunks 1 pound 454 grams
2 medium onions, unpeeled, cut into sixths 12 ounces 340 grams
3 large ripe tomatoes, quartered, seeded and coarsely chopped pounds 680 grams
1 large leek, roots removed, cut in half and thoroughly washed 8 ounces 227 grams
3 celery ribs with leaves, cut into 1-inch pieces 7 ounces 100 grams
1 small bunch parsley, preferably flat-leafed, tied with string 2 ounces 56 grams
2 bay leaves
3 cloves
dried thyme 1 teaspoon
peppercorns ½ teaspoon

EQUIPMENT: large stock pot (16 quarts); large fine strainer; cheesecloth; 2-quart or larger saucepan or high-sided skillet, preferably lined with a nonstick surface; bread pan about inches by inches, lightly sprayed with nonstick vegetable shortening or lightly oiled

KEEPS: If refrigerated in an open container, the stock cubes will dry out and harden, losing almost half their weight, and these will keep indefinitely but take longer to reconstitute. (This does not work in a high-humidity refrigerator such as a Traulsen.) If stored airtight in the refrigerator they will keep several months; stored in an airtight container in the freezer, they will keep indefinitely.


Rinse the chicken pieces under cold running water. Place them in the stock- pot and add the water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming any scum that rises to the surface. Add the vegetables, herbs and spices and simmer for at least 4 hours, adding water as necessary so that the bones and vegetables are always covered by at least 2 inches of water. Be sure the heat is at the lowest setting possible so that it never boils.

Use a slotted skimmer or spoon to remove the bones, vegetables and other solids to a strainer suspended over a large bowl. Press them to remove as much juice as possible and then discard the bones and vegetables. Pour all the sauce through the strainer. You will need several large bowls (or a second large stockpot).

Wash the stockpot and return the strained stock to it. Over high heat, reduce the stock to 3 quarts, about 2½ hours.

Pour the stock into a bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature, uncovered. Cover tightly with plastic wrap (preferably Saran brand) and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. The fat will congeal on the top; remove and discard it.

Suspend the fine strainer over a 4-quart or larger pot and line it with dampened cheesecloth. Heat the stock and pour it through the strainer into the pot. Over high heat, reduce the stock to 6 cups, stirring occasionally with a greased wooden spoon, 1½ to 2 hours.

Transfer the stock to the 2-quart saucepan or high-sided skillet. Scrape any stock clinging to the stirring spoon into the stock. Continue to reduce the stock over very low heat, to prevent burning, to about 2 cups, about 1 hour. The bubbling surface will be lighter in color but this should not be skimmed. The stock will become very dark in color and syrupy. Toward the very end of the cooking, large sticky bubbles will form on the surface and break. Remove from the heat.

Pour the concentrated stock (glace) into the oiled bread pan, scraping out as much of it as possible. Set the saucepan aside. Cool the glace to room temperature, cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours until firmly set.

Meanwhile, add 2 cups of water to the saucepan and heat, stirring constantly to dissolve any remaining chicken essence. Reduce the liquid to 1 cup. Cool and refrigerate. Use this stock within 3 days.

Run a small metal spatula or thin knife between the sides of the bread pan and the glace and unmold it onto a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut it into 32 cubes. (Cut it the short way into eighths, then cut it the long way into quarters.)

Pressure Cooker Method

A large pressure cooker makes it possible to do the initial 4-hour cooking of the bones and vegetables in just 1 hour. In a pressure cooker with a -quart liquid capacity you can do half the recipe (half the bones, vegetables, herbs and pepper), using 3 quarts of water; then use a large skimmer to remove the bones and debris and add the remaining half recipe to the same broth. It takes about 30 minutes to bring it up to pressure when the water is cold and about 30 minutes for the pressure to go down. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for your pressure cooker. Remove the bones and debris and strain the stock. You will have about 4 quarts. Refrigerate it and proceed as above.