Chicken stock and chicken pot pies

Photographer: Adam
makes 4L of stock and 6 pies

Whenever I cook sauces and soups I always kick myself that I don’t have fresh stock. The closest thing from the local supermarket is Gregg’s ‘real stock’, which I’m sorry I don’t think quite compares.

Even though I know the flavour will be that much better, I usually don’t take the time out to pre-emptively make it myself before I make something that requires it. But I got sick of living in the land of regret and decided I needed to adjust my attitude and set aside a day for making things in bulk that can be set aside for later.

Chicken stock is a definite must, as it’s an awesome addition to risotto, sauces and soups. It’s also cheap, easy and not as lengthy to make as its beef and venison counterparts. I like to freeze it down in 250ml containers, which I know in future cooking expeditions will mean I am cooking healthy, flavoursome food that won’t be preserving me.

The plus side to making chicken stock with fresh chicken frames is there’s all that beautiful leftover meat and vegetables which have been slowly cooking in the stock. Ordinarily these remnants might get thrown out, but you can be resourceful and make a few yummy pies out of them. It’s an easy exercise: all you have to do is pick out what is left of the veggies and chicken, make a white sauce, add some seasoning and bundle it all up in some puff pastry. I have chosen to make a béchamel sauce which uses milk, but you can also opt to make a velouté by substituting the milk for some of that lovely stock that you have made.


2 kg chicken frames
400g veggies (onion, carrot, celery, leek)
4 ½ litres of water
Bouquet garni (thyme, bay leaf, parsley stalks)*
Peppercorns 4-5

50g butter
50g flour
500ml milk
4 sheets of pre-rolled puff pastry (250mm by 250mm or something similar)
Leftover veggies and chicken from stock
Bunch of Italian parsley
Cracked black pepper
1 egg, beaten


1. Clean the bones of excess fat and marrow; this will make your job easier later when you are skimming the stock.
2. Gently fry off the veggies and bones in a stock pot with a teaspoon of oil; try not to colour them too much (a little colour is OK).
3. Add in the water and bouquet garni. You can tie the latter to the pot handle with a string—this way, it will be easier to remove at the end.
4. Slowly bring the pot to the boil. This is where you will have to do most of the skimming, as most of the scum and fat will surface as the stock comes up to temperature. Continue to skim the stock every now and again during the simmering process.
5. Once the stock begins to boil, reduce back to a simmer. Simmer for three hours then strain through muslin, chill as quickly as possible.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
2. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat on your cooktop. When melted and bubbling slightly, add the flour stirring quickly to avoid any lumps. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, then remove from heat and gradually add in the milk, ensuring after each addition to stir out any lumps. Return to stove, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer on a low heat for 3 minutes. Once done, remove from heat and set aside to mix with veggies and chicken.
3. Salvage the veggies and chicken meat from the stock pot, chop roughly and put into a bowl, mix with the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Roughly chop the Italian parsley and add into the mix.
4. Spray a 3×4 non-stick muffin tin with baking spray. Cut out 80mm rounds of the pastry and line the muffin tin (alternatively you can use a 20cm cake tin if you want a large pie). Fill with the chicken filling and top with 70mm rounds of the pastry, sealing with the beaten egg. Once sealed, brush the pastry with some more of the egg mix, then put into the preheated oven and bake for 20-30 mins until the pastry is golden.
* Bouquet garni is a combination of the peppercorns, thyme stalk, parsley stalks and bay leaf wrapped into a neat bundle in either a leek leaf or muslin cloth, and tied with twine.