Make this master chicken stock and use it as a base for a luxurious gravy sauce, then also check out our bone broth, onion gravy, turkey gravy and beef gravy.

High-quality stock is the key to transforming a dish from good to great, and that’s especially true for gravy. The deep caramelisation of the chicken wings in this recipe adds so much meaty depth, as well a luxurious mouthfeel. You could just make the stock to use in soups or risottos, or use to make our luxurious madeira gravy.

How to make the perfect stock

  • The secret to a great stock is the deep caramelisation of the chicken wings. You might think 1 hour 30 minutes is a touch excessive for roasting them but the more colour and crispness you get on the wings, the deeper the flavour of the stock.
  • Skimming the stock regularly removes any impurities from the pan, which can be emulsified back into the liquid if boiled, giving you a clear, clean-tasting stock.
  • Putting the stock back over the heat once the meat and bones have been removed concentrates its flavour and makes it easier to skim.

Keep the meat

  • Making stock is often about wasting as little as possible, although in this case you’re not simmering a left-over roast chicken carcass but wings. The pan will be absolutely packed with meat and, once drained and cooled, a bit of patience will reward you with a pile of chicken meat that will be perfect for any recipe that requires cooked chicken.


  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 200ml madeira
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly


  • 2kg chicken wings
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, halved horizontally
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few sprigs thyme
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns


  • STEP 1

    Heat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Tip the chicken wings onto one large or two medium roasting trays, so they’re spaced apart slightly – this will help them crisp up. Drizzle with 1 tbsp of the oil and season with sea salt. Roast for 1 hour 30 minutes until crisp and caramelised.

  • STEP 2

    Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a large pan over a high heat and tip in the remaining stock ingredients. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until everything is caramelised. Tip in 2.5 litres of cold water and set aside.

  • STEP 3

    Remove the wings from the oven and add to the stock pan. Use a ladle to scoop some of the water from the pan onto the trays, then return the empty trays to the oven for 5 minutes. Scrape well, then pour the contents into the pan.

  • STEP 4

    Bring the stock mixture to the boil over a medium heat, then turn down to a simmer and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes. Halfway through, use a potato masher to break up all the veg – this will help you get the maximum flavour from everything in the pan. Use a ladle to skim away any foam and fat from the surface as the stock cooks, and discard this.

  • STEP 5

    Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large heatproof bowl and ladle in the stock, pushing the veg and chicken against the sieve with the ladle to extract as much liquid as possible. Tip the bones and meat into a bowl and leave to cool – once cooled, you can pick out the meat to use in stews, sandwiches or pies, if you like.

  • STEP 6

    Tip the strained stock back into the pan and return to a low-medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes until reduced slightly. Ladle any fat that rises to the surface into a small bowl and set aside. At this stage, the stock can be used to make gravy (or another recipe), or cool and freeze in an airtight container for three months.

  • STEP 7

    To make gravy, heat 2 tbsp of the reserved chicken fat in a large pan over a medium-high heat. Once hot, sprinkle in the flour and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously. Pour in the madeira and cook for 10 minutes more, then pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes until thickened slightly, then stir in the redcurrant jelly and season. Use straight away or pour into airtight containers, leave to cool and freeze for up to three months.


Adam Bush Chef Portrait
Adam BushDeputy food editor

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