1 whole chicken (about 4 to 5 pounds), any paper inside removed
1 white or yellow onion, quartered
2-4 carrots, large, scrubbed or peeled and cut in half
2-4 celery stalks (with leaves if possible), cut in half
4–5 garlic cloves, smashed open or cut in half
1 large bay leaf
3–5 sprigs fresh thyme
5 stems fresh parsley (about 1 small handful)
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Optional, 2 slices of lemon
enough water to fill the pot
You’ll need a 6 to 8-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid-I use a 6-quart pot for a 4 or 5-pound chicken. Be sure to check the inside of the chicken and remove the paper pouch that contains the organs. Discard the paper and the organs if desired. You can also add the organs to the pot—ff you’re new to stock this might sound strange, but there is a lot of good nutrition in there.
This method uses a whole chicken. You can also use this recipe the bones (and whole carcass) of an already roasted bird. Just use whatever is left from the whole chicken after you remove the meat.
Add all ingredients to the pot and cover with purified water to about an inch below the top of the pot. Put a tight-fitting lid on the pot, then set it on the stove and bring to a boil (this takes about 10-20 minutes) then reduce to a simmer. Simmer at least 4 and up to 24 hours. If you use a whole chicken, be sure to remove the meat from the chicken about 2 hours in to prevent overcooking it then put the bones back in the pot.
To remove the meat, carefully remove the whole chicken from the pot and set it on a large cutting board. It will be very hot, let it cool a bit so you can handle it. Use two forks or a knife to remove as much meat as possible. The meat will be nicely poached and you can shred it or just cut it up. Put the meat in an airtight glass container, then let it come to room temperature before you store it in the refrigerator, where you can store it for up to three days. Or, use it immediately.
Then put all of the bones, skin, and the whole body back into the pot and let it simmer for at least another two hours. You can simmer your stock for 4-24 hours. The longer you simmer it the more flavorful and more nutritious it will be.
Keep the pot covered to prevent your stock from evaporating, if you notice the liquid reducing too much you can add a few cups more of water at any time during the process.
After simmering at least 4 hours, strain your stock through a fine-mesh colander or cheesecloth into a large bowl or pot.
Discard everything that was in the pot except the liquid you just strained, it’s all served a very useful purpose and by now, the veggies have been boiled to the point that they will fall apart.
SLOW COOKER METHOD: Follow the above directions but use a slow cooker instead. Add all of the ingredients and water to your slow cooker and put it on high until it comes to a simmer, about 2 hours. It will take a while to simmer as the slow cooker heats at a slower pace than your stovetop. Remove the meat once it’s cooked through, about 2-3 hours in. Add everything back in just like the method above and let it all simmer on low for 4-24 hours. You may want to add another cup or two of purified water if you let it simmer overnight and too much liquid evaporates. Just keep it covered and let it simmer as long as you’d like. All slow cookers (aka CrockPots) are different, you may want to leave it on high if it’s not gently simmering on low. I leave mine on low overnight after being on high about 3 hours and it simmers all night.
Use your stock right away to make homemade chicken soup.
To store, let it come to room temperature and store in quart containers in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or the freezer up to 6 months.
If freezing, freeze in portions that will be useful to use in recipes, like 2 cup or 4 cup (quart) containers