1 whole chicken,
or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts,
such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings
or 1 leftover carcass and pan drippings
chicken feet (optional)
4 quarts cold filtered water, or enough to cover chicken
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, scraped and cut into large pieces
3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
1 bay leaf
several whole peppercorns
If you are using a whole chicken, cut it into several pieces. If you can find them, use the chicken feet – they are full of gelatin. (Jewish folklore considers the addition of chicken feet the secret to successful broth.) Farm-raised, pastured chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.
Place chicken in a large stainless steel pot, cover with water, add vinegar, vegetables, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Let stand, with the heat off, for 30 minutes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Skim off any scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat to lowest setting, cover, and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be.
Strain the liquid, discarding the vegetables but reserving the chicken carcass. Let cool, then pick any meat off the carcass and save for other uses, such as chicken salads, sandwiches, or potpies. To store the stock with its fat, simply portion out into quart-sized containers or freezer bags, and place in your refrigerator or freezer. To remove fat, place stock in a large container or bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate. When it is chilled, you can skim the fat off the surface.
Adapted from Sally Fallon's Nourishing Traditions