When my children were little, we cooked a lot of soup and used a lot of stocks, so I always had a pot of stock going, and plenty in my freezer. Homemade stock is way beyond what you can buy in the store. It is rich and flavorful and makes your dishes a step above the norm. Buying whole chickens and cutting them up yourself is more economical and less wasteful. I would always have a ziplock bag in my freezer and would add the necks, backs and wing tips to the bag as I cut up a chicken for a meal. I would keep the bag until it was full enough to do a batch of stock, then I would open them up, roast them and put them into the stock pot. The result was a full flavored stock that could be used as a base for chicken soup, or any other recipe that needed stock.
I gallon sized bag of chicken backs, necks and wing tips
3 stalks celery with leaves, roughly sliced
1 large carrot, roughly sliced
1 large onion, quartered
1 leek, roughly sliced
6 sprigs of fresh parsley
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. salt
Place chicken parts in a roasting pan and roast in the over at 375 degrees until golden. Pour chicken parts and any juices into a stockpot. Pour 1 cup water into roasting pan and heat over med heat, scraping browned bits off bottom of pan. Once liquid comes to a boil, turn off heat and pour over chicken parts in stockpot. Add vegetables and herbs, then add enough water to cover (about 10-12 cups). Over moderate heat, bring slowly to a boil. Use a slotted spoon to skim off the fat and scum that rises to the top. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for at least 3 hours. The longer you simmer the stock, the better the flavor.
Line a fine sieve with cheese cloth and place over a large bowl. Slowly pour the stock into the sieve and allow to drain. Throw away the solids. Let stock cool to room temperature. Once cooled, pour into serving size containers and cover. Label and date the containers. Store the stock in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for up to 6 months.
Makes 2 quarts of stock.