Foodmomiac's Guide to Chicken Stock
I got this email yesterday from my old friend Kate:
So... I don't really have a set recipe I follow. I kind of just do my thing and it usually works out. I take the carcass(es) and put them in a giant soup pot. Then, I cover them with filtered water. I add a couple of onions cut in quarters, some carrots, some celery (including leaves is GREAT), and some parsnips (this is optional, but makes the resulting stock taste like soup from a Jewish deli). I put the heat on medium, bring it up to a low simmer, turn down the heat to low, and let it all cook for a while. If the water gets low, you can add more. If there is scum on the surface, you can skim it.
When the stock seems "stock-y," I strain it, reserving all of the chunks in a colander. I then start sorting. I discard the onion and celery as they are tapped out, but I slice the carrots and parsnips into coins to be used in my soup. I also take on the ultra messy job of sorting through the carcasses. I pull off all of the good meat and shred it up into bite size pieces. This is also for the soup.
We actually prefer more of a stew with our stock, so I add back in the carrots, parsnips and chicken and then make spaetzle dumplings right into the pot. If this is too fancy for you, you can just dump in some egg noodles (or better yet, get the Hungarian dumplings from a gourmet market). The more noodles you add, the stew-ier the soup with be. You can also not add ANYTHING back into the stock and just use it for cooking.
Hope this helps!