Don’t be daunted, chicken stock is surprisingly simple to make, it just asks for a few hours on the stovetop to simmer alone. Your homemade stock will triumph over anything in a box, can, or cube in the way of health and flavor. Two ways to acquire chicken carcasses and parts are buying them (often frozen), or adding them over time as you make or buy whole chickens to a designated bag in the freezer. As always, I urge you to source as sustainable a bird as you can find and afford, particularly since she is the star of this show.
Master Recipe: Chicken Stock
Makes about 3 quarts (12 cups)
2-3 raw and/or cooked chicken carcasses (giblets and back, but not the liver)
2 large onions
1 stalk of celery
A few parsley stalks
Sprig of thyme
6 black peppercorns
Into a large pot, add 2-3 raw and/or cooked cut-up chicken carcasses (giblets and back, but not the liver), 2 quartered large onions, 1 stalk of celery, 1 sliced carrot, a few parsley stalks, sprig of thyme, 6 black peppercorns, and 1 gallon (about 16 cups) of cold water. Bring to a boil, and skim the surface of any fat with a spoon.
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Simmer gently for 3-5 hours, covered or uncovered. (The longer it simmers the deeper the flavor.) Strain through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Notice, there is no salt added to this master recipe.
Chicken stock will keep in the fridge for a few days, but after that it loses its luster. I recommend freezing as much of the stock as you are willing. You can freeze in ice cube trays (for smaller amounts to grab when need them), small or large yogurt containers, 2-cup sized Pyrex glass containers, or Ziplock-style freezer bags. To thaw, allow 1-3 days in the fridge (depending on the amount, and what size container you are thawing).