Basic Chicken Stock
- 5 pounds assorted chicken parts (backs, necks, legs, and wings), rinsed
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 2-inch lengths
- 2 celery stalks, chopped into 2-inch lengths
- 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
Place chicken parts in a stockpot just large enough to hold them with about 3 inches of room above (an 8-quart pot should do) and add enough water to cover by 1 inch (about 3 quarts). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, using a ladle to skim impurities and fat that rise to the top.
Add vegetables, bay leaf, and peppercorns and reduce heat to a bare simmer (bubbles should just gently break the surface). Cook, skimming frequently, for at least 1 1/2 hours and up to 4 hours.
Pass stock through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a large heatproof measuring cup or another bowl or pot; do not press on solids. Discard solids.
Skim off fat if using immediately, or let cool completely (in an ice-water bath, if desired) before transferring to airtight containers. Refrigerate at least 8 hours to allow the fat to accumulate at the top; lift off and discard fat before using or storing stock.