Brown Chicken Stock

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • yield:

    8 quarts

Appears in


By James Peterson

Published 1991

  • About

Brown chicken stock is especially useful in kitchens where it is not practical to prepare beef and/or veal glazes and stocks. If the kitchen does not generate enough chicken carcasses for the stock, most wholesale butchers will deliver chicken carcasses at a nominal cost. Chicken wings and drumsticks are inexpensive and more flavorful than carcasses or backs.

Brown chicken stock can be used for deglazing sauté pans and roasting pans and as a base for more concentrated, specialized stocks such as game or pigeon. It is good to have brown chicken stock on hand to use as a thinner for sauces that may have become too reduced.


chicken carcasses, drumsticks, or wings 12 lb 6 kg
onions, 2 medium, coarsely chopped 1 lb 500 g
carrots, 2 medium, coarsely chopped 8 oz 250 g
celery, 1 stalk, sectioned 3 oz 100 g
cold chicken stock or water 1 qt 1 L
cold water 8 qt 8 L
bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 1 large bunch fresh thyme, 1 handful tarragon stems, 1 bunch parsley, preferably with roots) 1 1


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Thoroughly rinse the chicken carcasses with cold water. Give them a sniff to make sure they are fresh. Drain them well. Trim any excess fat off the carcasses. Cut off the tails, which are attached to the backs, and break up the carcasses. Spread the carcasses, onions, carrots, and celery over the bottom of a large roasting pan in a single layer. (If the chicken is heaped up in the pan, it will not brown. Conversely, if sections of the roasting pan remain exposed, the juices are liable to burn.)
  3. Roast the chicken and vegetables. (A)

    Check after about 30 minutes. The chicken should be golden brown on top. Stir with a wooden spoon and continue roasting.

  4. After 30 to 90 minutes of roasting, when the pieces of chicken are completely browned and any juices have caramelized on the bottom of the roasting pan, remove the pan from the oven and remove the chicken and vegetables from the pan. Place the pan on top of the stove. (B)

  5. If there is a large amount of rendered chicken fat in the bottom of the roasting pan, ladle it off. Add 1 quart (1 liter) cold stock or water to the roasting pan and turn the heat under it to high. Scrape the bottom of the roasting pan with a wooden spoon to dissolve the caramelized juices.
  6. Carefully transfer the browned chicken parts and vegetables to a 25-quart (22 liter) stockpot, along with the deglazing liquid. Add the remaining cold water and the bouquet garni to the pot. (C)

    Push the bouquet garni down into the pot with the back of a ladle so it does not keep floating to the top.

  7. Gently bring the stock to a slow simmer. Do not let it boil. Keep the pot to one side of the heat source so any scum or froth is pushed to one side and is easier to skim; skim the stock regularly with a ladle to remove fat and scum. (D)

    After about 40 minutes, most of the excess fat should be gone.

  8. Cook the stock for a total of 3 hours. Do not cover the pot at any point.
  9. Strain the finished stock first through a coarse chinois, then through a fine chinois. Do not press on the solids while they are draining, or the stock may cloud. Let the stock cool at room temperature and then in an ice bath before refrigerating.
  10. After the stock has completely cooled, any remaining fat will have congealed on its surface. Carefully scrape it off with a metal spoon. (E)

    Brown chicken stock will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator. If it needs to be kept longer, bring it to a simmer for 10 minutes, skim, and quickly cool. It will keep for another 5 days.