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A well-made pork stock is just as good as any beef or chicken stock and it’s something we make all the time in the River Cottage kitchen. It forms the basis of lots of our sauces, reductions, soups and stews. Save all your pork bones – they freeze really well. Roasting the bones before you make your stock will give it a wonderful deep flavour.


Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6.

Place the pork bones in a large roasting tray and season them well with salt and pepper. Roast for 40–45 minutes, turning once, until golden and caramelised.

Using tongs, transfer the roasted bones to a large stockpot.

Pour off any excess fat from the roasting tray, then place the tray over a low heat and add a glass of water to deglaze. Stir and scrape up the sticky, sweet caramelised bits from the bottom of the tray with a wooden spoon. Add this liquor to the stockpot, along with the vegetables, garlic, peppercorns, fennel seeds and herbs, then pour in enough fresh water to cover everything.

Bring to a gentle simmer and cook, uncovered, for at least 3 hours – and up to 5. Top up the water once or twice, if necessary. Strain the stock through a fine sieve, leave it to cool, then chill. You can freeze your stock in batches – that way you’ll always have some on hand.

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Makes 2.5–3 litres

  • 3kg pork bones, roughly chopped, plus any lean meat trimmings you have
  • 3 onions, peeled and quartered
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and halved
  • 3–4 celery sticks, roughly chopped
  • 1 whole garlic bulb, halved horizontally
  • A few black peppercorns
  • A few fennel seeds
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 3–4 sprigs of thyme (optional)
  • A few parsley stalks (optional)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

This recipe is taken from...

River Cottage Pigs & Pork handbook