I’ll be honest, I didn’t make my own stocks for years. I figured the store bought versions were satisfactory and I didn’t want to take the time to make stock. HOWEVER, once I learned the tricks to making a good stock, I found they can’t be compared to the store bought versions. Home stocks are rich and full of flavor and transform what you cook.
1 chicken carcass
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 stalks celery, washed and thinly sliced including the leaves
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 -3 cloves garlic
1 bunch of parsley, tough stems discarded and then roughly chopped.
2 bay leaves
10-15 peppercorns, whole
If I have made a roast chicken, once the meat is removed I use that carcass. Being the lazy chick I am, I will also use a store bought rotisserie chicken in a pinch. I remove the meat to use in something else and throw the carcass in a pot. I use the wings, legs, and whole body of the bird. I remove most of the skin from the breasts. This reduces the amount of fat in the final broth and I don’t have to skim chunks of the skin from the cooked stock which is a gross texture at that point (imho).
In a large stock pot, place the parts of your chicken. Wash and peel the carrots (peeling is critical in making a good stock!) and dice the carrots. Wash the celery and remove the tough white bottoms but keep the leaves. Thinly slice the celery and throw it in the pot. Dice the onion and add it to the pot. Remove the tough stems from the parsley (I just chop off the stems a centimeter or two below the leaves of the bunch), chop and add it to the pot. Peel the garlic and throw in the cloves. Add the pepper corns and bay leaves. Fill the pot until the chicken and vegs are covered by about 2 inches above the biggest piece of chicken (I know this isn’t an exact measure, but since chickens vary widely in size, its better to do it this way than with a set measurement).
Cover the pot. Bring the water to a gentle boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the stock for about 3 hours. Use a spoon to taste the broth. Add salt, about 1/2 tablespoon at a time until the flavor really pops for you. Turn off the heat and uncover the pot. Let it cool for about 30 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the larger pieces of veg and chicken, allowing the stock to drip back into the pot before discarding the solids. Once the large pieces are removed, strain the stock into a large bowl or measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer.
Taste the broth and add salt and pepper as needed.
Allow the stock to cool before placing in a sealable jar.
If you have a large (4 c or larger) measuring cup it is easy to strain the stock into this and use the cup to then transfer the broth to mason jars.
If the water to chicken ratio turns out to be a bit much, you can return the strained broth to a clean pot and simmer uncovered to reduce for about 30 minutes to make a richer flavor.
Some cooks allow the stock to completely cool in the refrigerator and then remove the fat that solidifies and floats on the top. I find most chickens don’t produce enough fat to make this step worth while unless you are cooking for someone avoid fat for health reasons.