Traditional French Recipe for Chicken Broth

by ali

Classic French Chicken Broth Recipe

I get sentimental when I cook. I think of friends, family, travels I’ve had and those trips I have yet to take. When I made this recipe, I dreamed of Paris. I have never been to Paris.

Still, dreamlike sequences, snapshots from movies, from photographs combined with stories from friends about the foggy mist making mysterious dark haired classic beauty that Paris transforms herself into at night…dazzling with the lights of her lean, long Eiffel. This is where I go when I cook.

This Classic French broth was inspired by a recipe from Saveur cookbook – because I consider them an authority on “getting flavors right” and from some personal taste tests I did over the course of a few broth experiments.  It consists of two parts – the first part is roasting some chicken in the oven to add depth of flavor. The liquid from that roasting gets added to the stock pot for part two – making the broth. Please try this recipe with the lights dimmed, music in the background, a candle lit and let the smell of roasted garlic lemon chicken draw you into your own dream.

This recipe makes about 2 quarts of finished broth


Part one

  • 1 lb chicken legs and chicken feet seasoned with 1/2 lemon juice squeezed over, salt and pepper and 2 cups water, Roast at 375 for one hour. Reserve the liquid in the pan and add to stock pot.  Eat the leg meat for dinner or save for another meal – discard the chicken feet.

Part two

  • 1 whole  4 lb chicken
  • 3 quarts water
  • 4 leeks trimmed, washed and chopped (they get a lot of dirt in the leaves as they grow)
  • 1 carrot peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks of celery chopped
  • 1 large Shallot chopped finely
  • 1 white onion
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Salt
  • Bouquet Garni  – 3 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 bay leaf, 3-5 peppercorns, all wrapped tightly in a cheesecloth square and tied with a string.

Bouquet Garni for French Chicken Broth


Complete step one and drain the liquids from pan into the stock pot. Heat liquid and add shallots. Stir for 5 minutes – allowing them to soften over medium heat. Add water and place whole chicken breasts up in the pan. Add all vegetables and place bouquet garni on top.

Cover and bring to a boil over high heat.

Reduce heat to low and allow to simmer partially covered for 2 hours. You can add more water if you wish. Season with salt as you go.

Remove chicken from pot (you may have to strain it from the broth as it might have fallen apart).

Broth and Chicken Strained from One Another

Simmer broth for one more hour. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface.

Pour stock through a strainer lined with cheesecloth – into a bowl. Discard vegetables or chicken carcass remaining. Transfer stock to a bowl and cover. Refrigerate until cold (overnight is fine).

When broth is cold, you can skim off fat that has formed on surface and discard OR choose to keep the fat in a separate container for cooking recipes (this chicken fat is called Confit by the French and  Schmaltz by German and Yiddish cooks. Confit is used by the French to preserve meats and often to cook duck and other tender meats flavorfully. It is used in Germany as a spread on breads and to make rich stews and sauces. Schmaltz is most commonly used in the US to make Matzo ball soup according to this recipe on which I am making soon.) I personally like leaving the fat because I feel like it provides more rich heartiness to the broth …but the classic FRENCH style calls for it to be skimmed from the broth to make it very clean. It’s becomes a more neutral palate when prepared this way.

The subtle lemon and shallot flavors mixed with the herbs and the richness of the roasted chicken jus added at the beginning make this broth one of my absolute favorites!  I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do!

Clean, Clear, Light and Fresh Chicken Broth

Nutritional Information  

Makes 8, 1 Cup Servings

Amount Per Serving

Calories                           54.1

Total Fat                        .7 g

Cholesterol                    5.0 mg

Sodium                            990.2 mg

Potassium                      627.6 mg

Total Carbohydrate  11.2 g

Dietary Fiber                1.7 g

Sugars                               3.1 g

Protein                             2.2 g



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Rating: 7.0/10 (7 votes cast)
Traditional French Recipe for Chicken Broth , 7.0 out of 10 based on 7 ratings
  • Lorraineparkinson

    some of the mixture are not lear to me thank you

  • Ryan Griffin

    Traditional French stocks use chicken carcasses and waste parts, not whole chickens.

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