Starting the stock: The back, neck, wings ( or just the wing tips) gizzard and heart of 1-2 chickens or one whole cut chicken or a combination. Cold water as needed 1-2 celery ribs and a few inner leaves 1 medium unpeeled carrot, cut down the length and quartered 1 medium unskinned onion, trimmed and cut into large chunks
Seasoning and simmering the stock: 1 garlic clove, bruised 1 bay leaf a few sprigs of parsley or just parsley stems a few black peppercorns a few branches of fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme salt as desired
Starting the stock: Place the chicken parts in a 4-1/2 quart saucepan. Cover them with cold water up to two inches above the bones. Bring the liquid to the boil, then reduce the heat so as to maintain a low simmer. Never let it boil. Skim all the foam or scum as it rises to the surface. Push down on the bones to release any trapped foam. Add the vegetables to the pot.
Seasoning and simmering the stock: Add the herbs and spices to the pot and continue to simmer the stock uncovered for 4-8 hours or until it is reduced in volume by about 1/4-1/3 and is flavorful. It is best to leave the stock unsalted if it is to be stored for later use. If you decide to salt the stock it may take as much as 2-3 teaspoons. Salt gradually and to the taste.
Storing the stock: Skim off fat. Strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer or skimmer into plastic storage containers. If the stock is still hot, leave lids off until cool. Refrigerate or freeze. Label and date the lids and secure them.
Making larger batches of stock is simply a matter of increasing the amount of chicken and the size or amount of the vegetables, herbs and spices. Be careful not to over do herbs and spices. Cook the stock longer (8-24 hours or more) until flavorful. However, overcooking can result in a stock that has a bone flavor.