1 whole free-range chicken or 2 - 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as necks, backs, breastbones and wings
gizzards from one chicken (optional)
feet from the chicken
4 quarts cold filtered water
1/2 tsp salt per quart of water
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
1 bunch of parsley
If you are using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands, and the gizzards from the cavity. By all means, use chicken feet if you can find them - they are full of gelatin. To prepare chicken feet for addition to the stock, dip feet into boiling water for 1 minute. Peel skin off feet and remove quarter inch off end of each toe. Place everything remaining into stock. (Jewish folklore considers the addition of chicken feet the secret to successful broth.) Even better, use a whole chicken, with the head on. These may be found in Oriental markets. Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results. Many battery-raised chickens will not produce stock that gels.
Cut chicken parts into several pieces. (If you are using a whole chicken, remove the neck and wings and cut them into several pieces.) Place chicken or chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley. Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove foam that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.
Remove whole chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon. If you are using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches or curries. (the skin and smaller bones, which will be very soft, may be given to your dog or cat.) Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in your refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your refrigerator or freezer.
Variations: Turkey Stock and Duck Stock
Prepare as chicken stock using turkey wings and drumsticks or duck carcasses from which the breasts, legs and thighs have been removed. These stocks will have a stronger flavor than chicken stock and will profit from the addition of several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together, during cooking. Be sure to refrigerate and defat these stocks before using. The reserved duck fat is highly prized for cooking purpose.
Reprinted with permission from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon with Mary Enig Ph.D.