I suppose there's a million ways to make great chicken stock, but this is my favorite. Don't be afraid of cutting up one of our whole chickens...it's easy! Maybe I'll hold a little workshop some day to show folks how truly easy it is to break down a chicken.
What follows is my FAVORITE SOUP OF ALL TIME: Mulligatawny. If you've never had it, you're in for a treat. My version comes from the 1962 edition of Joy of Cooking, just a few chapters away from How to Cook Squirrel and Best Cuts of Whale. Love!
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
3 T cooking oil or butter
4 stalks celery, roughly chopped
4 carrots, roughly chopped
1-2 onions, roughly chopped
1-2 bay leaves
Herbs--fresh or dried, whatever strikes your fancy (I like rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley)
8-12 cups water
Brown chicken pieces (including back and wing tips) in oil in large pot or Dutch oven. Do this in batches & make sure you get nice browning on the skin. Remove pieces as they are browned (but not cooked) and set aside, working through all your chicken pieces. Once chicken is browned and removed from the pot, add vegetables and saute until soft--about 12 minutes. Be careful to not let the browned bits on the bottom burn. Once your veggies are soft, add a little bit of water and start scraping up the brown bits. They should come loose nicely and will further flavor your broth. Add back the chicken pieces, your herbs and bay leaves and fill the pot with the remaining water. Bring to a simmer then turn down to low, skimming off the "foam" from time to time. If you feel you must cover the pot, leave the cover askew. I leave the cover off altogether. Simmer on low for 2-3 hours, until meat is falling of the bones. Remove pot from heat and let it cool completely. I usually put the pot in the fridge and do the rest the following day.
Remove cooked chicken pieces and pull meat off bones, shredding or chopping the meat as you go. Discard skin & bones. Whether you'll be using your stock for the Mulligatawny or saving it for another use, my preference is to strain the stock. If you've used a non-JFF chicken, you'll want to put your stock into a fat separator and adjust the amount of fat to your taste.
1 C onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1/2 C butter
3 T flour
4 tsp curry powder
8 C chicken stock
1/2 C tart apples, diced
1 C cooked white rice
1 C cooked chicken
2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1 C warmed cream or half & half
Saute veggies in butter until soft, but not browned. Add flour and curry powder. Stir & cook for 2-3 minutes. Add chicken stock and simmer for 30 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients (except cream) and simmer another 15 minutes. Immediately before serving, stir in the cream. Or leave the cream out and let people pass it at the table.