Pardon the soapbox.
White chicken stock is, in my opinion, the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT BASIC INGREDIENT IN YOUR KITCHEN. I know white chicken stock isn’t hip. It smacks of Jewish grandmothers (in my case, Jewish mothers), 1950s casseroles, and white sauces. And people love to coo and preen about their brown chicken stock. But I think there is nothing you can get from a brown chicken stock that a veal stock can’t do better, whereas your white chicken stock unobtrusively and self-effacingly gives you gorgeous soups, risottos, gravies, fondant potatoes, and braised vegetables, to name just a few. And it boosts your immune system.
There are two components to a great white chicken stock: (1) your stock vegetables (I like to use leek, celery, carrots and parsley), and (2) an old bony bird.
I buy my chickens for stock from my laconic butcher at the Portobello Market (Londoners, I think it’s Spenser’s, just north of Westbourne Grove).
Look at those tough old bitches! Those are hens that strutted around and scratched and bullied the other chickens in the yard. Now they’re too stringy for much besides stock (although they’d probably make great coq au vin) but wow is the stock fantastic.
To make stock, put your chicken and vegetables in a four liter pot filled with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, and simmer for at least three to four hours, skimming off impurities as they rise to the surface. Strain, skim off fat (it’s easier to do this after the stock is chilled, as the fat will solidify), and freeze or use as needed.