Elizabethan Stock
3-1/2 qt  
2-3/4 hrs  

This stock is quite different from those made today - with a little of the Medieval still in it, combined with the Elizabethan fondness for things sweet. See Note-6 for background - and think before using this stock for any cuisine save Elizabethan or earlier English. The almonds make it a bit murky, but if you must have it clear, they will settle out.




Chicken parts (1)
Lamb Shank (2)
-- Onion mix
Rosemary sprigs
Bay Leaves
Mint sprigs
Parsley sprigs
-- Sweet mix
Almonds, Blanched
Dates (3)
Currants (4)
Wine, White
Make   -   (2-3/4 hrs - see Note-1)
  1. Peel ONIONS and quarter lengthwise. Mix together all Onion mix items.
  2. In an 8-quart pot, place the Chicken Parts, Lamb Shank and Water. Bring to a boil. As it comes to a boil skim off all the sludge that rises to the top. Stir in Onion mix, bring back to a boil, cover and simmer slowly for about 45 minutes.
  3. Grind ALMONDS very fine - as close to paste as you can get them. Pit DATES and chop medium. Mix both with Currants.
  4. When Chicken has simmered 45 minutes, stir in Almond mix and White Wine. Bring back to a simmer and simmer slowly for another 1 hour.
  5. Strain Stock through a fine wire strainer, discarding solids.
  6. De-fat Stock thoroughly (see Note-5).
  7. Bring back to a boil in a clean pot. Season to taste with Salt and Pepper. If not using immediately, put up in jars and refrigerate when cool. If holding more than 5 days, see our page Soup Stock / Broth - General Method.
  1. Chicken Parts:   I usually buy a 10 pound bag of leg quarters, which will produce 4-1/2 pounds of soup parts after I have extracted the skinless-boneless thigh and leg meat (for use in some other recipe). If you do it this way, add an hour to the time for disassembling the leg quarters. You can also toss in some gizzards, hearts, wings, feet, necks, etc. All fat goes in with skins bones and other stuff. Fats are not water soluble, but some of the flavors they carry are, and it's easy to remove the fat at the end of cooking using your gravy separator. For more details see our Soup Stock / Broth - General Method page.
  2. Lamb Shank:   This works best if you have your meat man saw it into 2 inch lengths.
  3. Dates:   Deglet or similar dates are good here. The big ultra-sweet Medjools were available only to the Moroccan royal household until after 1927. In that year 11 sprouts were sent to California to preserve the variety from possible extinction due to disease.
  4. Currants:   I don't know if real currants were much available in Elizabethan England, but they certainly aren't today, or in North America either. We will use Zante Currants (just "Currants" in England) which are tiny grapes dried to raisins.
  5. De-fat:   Use your gravy separator. It'll take several batches so pour off only 2/3 of what's in the separator before refilling to keep fat out of the pour spout. An alternate to the gravy separator is to refrigerate the stock overnight to solidify the fat layer, then peel it off.
  6. Background:   This recipe is derived from one by Sir Hugh Plat, published in his book Delights for Ladies. Sir Hugh died (1608) 5 years after the death of Queen Elizabeth I, and 8 years before the death of William Shakespeare. Many of his recipes are on the sweet side, because that was the preference of the time. This sweetness was obtained from dried fruits, because sugar was still exotic and very expensive. It was so exotic and expensive it was presumed to be a powerful medicinal for treatment of all manner of human ailments. Our own "health food" industry follows this same principle to this day.
  7. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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