Sounds simple doesn’t it?
Chicken stock. We use it in many dishes. It’s almost as prevalent as salt and pepper.
So what kind do you use? I admit, the boxed containers with their easy-pour spots are convenient. But are they really the best flavor? I think not.
3-4 Lbs of chicken parts like necks, wings, backs, etc.
2 whole carrots cut into thick slices
1 large onion, quartered
4 ribs celery, cut in half or quarters
7-8 sprigs of fresh thyme
7-8 springs fresh parsley (use the stems and all, think flavor)
2 whole bay leaves
8-10 whole peppercorns
2 gallons cold water
(please note the complete absence of salt)
Put everything into a big stock pot, mix well. Bring to a slow boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Check for and remove any scum that appears in the pot a few times per hour. Keep an eye on the water level so all ingredients are kept submerged. Add hot water as needed. Cook for a minimum of 6 hours. More is better in this case. Plan to make this when you have time to devote to it. Saturdays are usually good for this type of thing.
After the stock is cooked, use a mesh strainer to pull out the large pieces of chicken etc. and place in a bowl. After you have as much of that out as you can get, strain the stock thru the mesh into another pot. Then immediately place that pot in a sink of ice water. You can also use a picnic cooler for this. Use a cooking thermometer to check the temperature, once it is below 40 degrees, cover the pot and place it in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, carefully remove any solid fat that has accumulated on the top. Store liquid in refrigerator or better yet, in the freezer. Shelf life in the fridge is 2-3 days, in the freezer it’s 3 months. I find it is a good idea to freeze the stock in 1 quart containers so it’s easily used in recipes.
After all that is done, don’t forget to carefully sort through the chicken parts you pulled out. There is a lot of tasty meat there that is great for many things.