Brown Chicken Stock from Outlander Kitchen

Hot Broth at Castle Leoch from Outlander (Brown Chicken Stock)

"I'm so sorry...that is, I mean, thank you for...but I..." I was babbling, backing away from him with my face flaming.  He was a bit flushed, too, but not disconcerted.  He reached for my hand and pulled me back.  Careful not to touch me otherwise, he put a hand under my chin and forced my head up to face him.

"Ye need not be scairt of me," he said softly.  "Nor of anyone here, so long as I'm with ye." He let go and turned to the fire.

"You need somethin' hot, lass," he said matter-of-factly, "and a bit to eat as well.  Something in your belly will help more than anything."  I laughed shakily at his attempts to pour broth one-handed, and went to help.  He was right; food did help.  We sipped broth and ate bread in a companionable silence, sharing the growing comfort of warmth and fullness.

Finally, he stood up, picking up the fallen quilt from the floor.  He dropped it back on the bed, and motioned me toward it.  "Do ye sleep a bit, Claire.  You're worn out, and likely someone will want to talk wi' ye before too long."

This was a sinister reminder of my precarious position, but I was too exhausted to care much.  I uttered no more than a pro forma protest at taking the bed; I had never seen anything so enticing.  Jamie assured me that he could find a bed elsewhere.  I fell headfirst into the pile of quilts and was asleep before he reached the door.

Outlander (Chapter 4)

Broth and bread.  A quick and common meal for everyone from crofters to castle inhabitants throughout the Outlander world.  Out here in the real world both were kitchen staples for hundreds of years, when everything was homemade, food supplies were often stretched, and nothing was ever wasted.

Especially the bones.  Homemade stock is an inexpensive source of protein, nutrition and flavour that is undervalued and underused in today's kitchens.  And while packaged stock is occasionally essential for last-minute dinners, the heartiest and most delicious soups (as well as stews, sauces, crock pots and rice pilafs) start with their own pot of liquid gold.

Brown Chicken Stock

Meat and poultry stock can be divided into 2 broad types: white and brown. A white stock is made from raw bones and has almost no colour, while a brown stock is made from bones roasted with tomato puree and is therefore much more richly coloured.

Each has its place. White stock is used in cream soups, light sauces and anywhere else where a neutral colour is desired (like that rice pilaf). Brown stock finds its home in clear soups, pan sauces and gravies, and adds a rich amber hue to any plate or bowl.  Brown stock is also the one you want for companionable sipping.

I chose chicken stock because it's the most common in today's kitchen.  You'll find my brown beef stock recipe here. If veggie stock is more your scene, try this recipe -- and check out this article for tips to get the most out of a vegetable stock.

Most people cite time as the number 1 reason they avoid making stock.  I won't argue that stock takes some time -- about 3 hours from start to finish for this brown chicken stock -- but if you're going to be around the house anyway, why not try a pot full?  Once it's simmering, just turn on the exhaust fan and walk away. (Check back every 30 minutes or so.)

And if you have a really big pot, make a big batch.  The broiler pan full of bones and veggies below made 7 quarts of stock.

That's enough to keep us in soups and stews for the rest of the winter.

browned-bones Brown Chicken Stock

In addition to the bones, a stock gets it flavour from the mirepoix, which is an aromatic mix of onion, carrot and celery, as well as the bouquet garnii, a bundle of herbs and spices immersed in the simmering stock.

The one flavouring you never add to a stock is salt.  NEVER SALT A STOCK.  When you use your stock in a soup or sauce, or serve it, steaming in mugs for those coming out of the cold, is the time to season it with salt.  And maybe a little freshly cracked black pepper too, eh?

The best stocks are crystal clear.  Follow these few simple rules to prevent impurities such as blood and fat from making a cloudy mess:

  • Start with cold water
  • Trim all bones of excess skin, fat and meat
  • Always keep a stock uncovered during cooking
  • Keep the stock at a slow simmer
  • Never stir a stock
  • Skim the stock regularly
  • When finished, ladle the stock through a strainer rather than pouring it straight from the pot.  The stock at the very bottom is generally heavy with sediment.  I usually give it to the dog.
  • Degrease cold stock before reheating

I could say more about stock...heck, I could talk about food all day if you let me...if you're interested, here's one last article with more tips for making rich, delicious stock.

Show/Hide Comments


16 Jan 2012 - 1:33pm

The Mom Chef …

Outstanding. I'm intrigued that you used parsley stems instead of the leafy part. Any chef-insider information on that one? I have just about enough chicken parts for another batch so I may give your recipe a go. Cheers!


Great question, Christiane! I use parsley stems because none of the French Chefs I worked under would condone using perfectly good parsley leaves in a stock. The flavour from the stem and leaf of parsley is the same, so we kept the stems for the VATS of stock that cooked on the back burners constantly.

16 Jan 2012 - 2:09pm


Theresa- First, I love that scene for so many reasons, mainly because it foreshadows the intimacy that develops between Jamie & Claire. Second, thank you for sharing your broth receipes! Rice pilaf is a staple in my house (my Grandma Kazarian's recipe), I love making chicken stew w/dumplings in the winter, and I always use *gasp* store-bought broth. I love the thought of making my own, natural healthier broth to feed my family...


Yes, that scene really made me sit up and take notice of young Mr. MacTavish the first time I read Outlander...thanks so much for your kind words! theresa

16 Jan 2012 - 2:40pm

Judi Nadreau (…

Your pictures are outstanding! You make reading a cookbook as sexual an experience as reading Diana's books! What a partnership you have! I think what it is is that you slowed the pace down enough so that I have the visual impact of how sexy food can be in the Highlands.


Judi! just got a little hot under my collar...thanks for that...not many appreciate the sensuality of 18th Century food. I'm glad I have another convert. ;)

16 Jan 2012 - 3:19pm

Lee Ann

I could use a bit of that right now!!!

16 Jan 2012 - 6:29pm


Well you did it again!...Great pictures, great part of the story..nI also make stock and freeze it and now days when you ask a butcher at the store ...where are the bones...I need bones...they look at you like your nuts.nModern day people know all the good secrets!


That is so funny, Vickie...I often find myself wandering around the meat dept. of a grocery store muttering "Where are all the bones?" I'm glad I'm not alone! Theresa

16 Jan 2012 - 6:55pm


What a lovely post!

16 Jan 2012 - 7:10pm

Shana Jensen

Yummo! After becoming familiar with your site, I'm ALWAYS thinking of you whenever "food" of any sort is mentioned in the books. In fact, just read about "bannocks" today and my first thought was of the Kitchen. Keep up the great work!


Thanks very much Shana! I've dreamed of an Outlander Kitchen since I first picked up the books in 2001...I'm having a blast!

16 Jan 2012 - 7:39pm

Hey Paw

Thanks for telling us that you save the bones, I was beginning to form a plan to have my family keep all the chicken bones, but.....DING DONG, I can save and freeze ours! Much better for me since I tend towards being a little, um, "anti" germy. Another fantastic recipe. My son LOVES Won Ton soup, minus the won ton, mushrooms and little green onions. Broth. He'll love this! THANK YOU!


My pleasure! Stock/broth is the foundation of any homemade kitchen. You can make everything more flavourful, and bump up the protein content of your meals without a lot of expense. And the house smells amazing for the rest of the day...

16 Jan 2012 - 10:39pm

Kiri W.

Mmmm, love a good, flavorful stock. Makes or breaks a soup!


See, Kiri knows what I'm talking about! ;)

16 Jan 2012 - 11:28pm


I never knew any of that! What a fantastic blog! That was really educational as well!


Thanks Sara! I hope you'll come back soon...

17 Jan 2012 - 5:09pm


Theresa,nThank you so much for this one! I love it...and you've inspired me to make stock again (I haven't since I was in cooking school many, many years ago).nThe pictures are great and this is one of my favorite parts of the story. nYou are one talented Sassenach!

17 Jan 2012 - 5:22pm

The Lit Bitch

I have never made stock but it sounds like it would be really good and much better than the canned 'stock' or bullion cubes that I see in the store all the time :). I will have to try this one out one of these days. Thanks for the great posting :)


Homemade trumps store bought -- everytime -- but most especially in the case of stock.

06 Feb 2012 - 7:20am

Crock Pot Chi…

want to use a white chicken stock in a fricassee, to keep the colour light. However, if you have homemade brown chicken stock and use that instead, no one but you will ever know. If you use store-bought stock, go easy on

27 Feb 2012 - 7:51am

Jennys Hare P…

with a meat tenderizer, then season well with salt and pepper. To use the whole animal, make a stock with the remainder of the rabbit

20 Aug 2012 - 8:51am

Elizabeth Czepiel

Hello Theresa,nI've been a convert since seeing your site. Am having lots of fun exploring although I have some problems finding some ingredients in Australia. Still OK.nThanks for a wonderful and informative site.


Elizabeth -- welcome! If you ever have any questions about ingredients and substituions...don`t hesitate to ask in a comment or email me at

05 Sep 2012 - 4:33am

Bangers & Mas…

Chicken or Vegetable Stock 2

02 Oct 2012 - 7:29pm

Murphys Beef …

with my recipes for Chicken Stock and Vegetable Stock, youll notice that salt is missing from the list. NEVER SALT A

05 Nov 2012 - 7:03am

Beef Consomme …

well-trimmed thigh meat (supermarket ground chicken WON'T work plus, it's really gross) and chicken stock. That cuts your stock prep time by about

24 Dec 2012 - 5:22pm

Michelle Benne…

So I just invited a whole bunch of people over for turkey soup dinner this weekend...I'm going to give this a shot. Eeep! :P

04 Jan 2013 - 2:52pm

Jason Davis

I generally make my stocks and broths in quantity and freeze it. Once it's done, let it cool enough to put into zip-top freezer bags. You don't want to put a lot of warm broth in the fridge or freezer at once, though. What I do is to go to the store and get a couple of the large bags of ice. I put them in a cooler with a little water. Then once I bag my stock/broth and make sure it's sealed, I'll drop it into the cooler for 5-10 minutes. When it comes out, it's nice and cool. Add some salt to the water in the cooler and it'll be a few degrees cooler. Once the ice melts, just dump a bit of the water and add more. Once the bags of broth are refrigerator-temp, go ahead and put in the freezer. Just remember not to put them on a wire rack in the freezer - the bag will conform to the shape of the wires, poke through them and when it freezes, you may not be able to get them out! (I'm experienced with this one!)


Great tip, Jason! I would advise, however, that you allow the stock to cool completely before bagging it. Warm liquids and plastic don't mix for a number of health and safety reasons. I cool my strained stock in a sink filled with ice water...similar to your cooler technique.

07 Nov 2014 - 1:00pm

Steel-Cut Oat…

Chicken or Vegetable Stock 5 to 6 Cups (see notes)

28 Nov 2014 - 9:11pm

karen rynne

I just happened across your post on fb and had to click the link. I can't wait to try this out not only the goodness from the bones but clever way of getting the goodness from the veg into the children and they will be none the wiser Thank you

28 Apr 2015 - 5:17pm

Chicken in th…

I have great intentions of doing a few in the kitchen videos, but I havent found the time yet. One of the first will be how to cut up a chicken, which takes less than 5 minutes once youve had some practice. Its cheaper than buying chicken pieces, and it leaves you with the backbone so you can make a big pot of homemade stock.

27 Dec 2015 - 6:44pm

Anna Lapping

I made your brown stock when I tested the Kale Brose with bacon. I don't think it would have been nearly as good if I had used my normal chicken broth which is result of cooking a rotisserie chicken with a little celery which I use to make chicken and rice for my dogs. I have 2 quarts of it in my freezer just waiting for a cold day, if we ever get one this winter. 75 degrees again today.

18 Apr 2016 - 7:13pm


Thanks for this recipe! I've been wanting to have some of this warmness ever since I read Jamie and Claire sharing their broth and bread!

24 May 2016 - 11:08pm


Oh, this website just makes me so happy! So perfect to have my love of food and Outlander come together :) Looking forward to going through your recipes and cookbook, you've done a wonderful job. I love making broth, and am curious as to why not to salt it until you use it? Is it to better control the salt content depending on what you'll be using it for, or something else? I generally make very dark white stocks by simmering the raw bones and vegetables for very long periods of time, but that brown stock looks so delicious that I've got to give it a try. Thanks for the great recipes and tips!


Yes, you don't salt a stock because it allows you to control the sodium levels in the dishes you make from the stock. Happy cooking!

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