NOTE: An updated version of this recipe appears in my cookbook, The Ancestral Table.
There are four main benefits to making your own homemade stock:
1. It saves you money, especially if you use leftover chicken parts. As you’ll see in this recipe, even buying chicken parts specifically for stock is still cheaper than buying commercially-available stock.
2. You get to control the taste of the broth, especially how much salt goes into it – which in my case is NONE. I prefer to add salt to my dishes as I cook them, without having to worry about how salty my broth is going to make my dish.
3. You can make it as concentrated as you’d like, which helps you save valuable freezer/fridge space.
4. You have control over where the chicken comes from, and how it was processed, by purchasing your birds/parts from a local farm or from online vendors.
For this recipe, I used chicken parts from U.S. Wellness Meats; specifically, chicken backs and necks. I used these parts because they have lots of bones, which house a lot of nutrients that are imparted into the broth. U.S. Wellness Meats were out of chicken feet at the time of my order, so I got some locally. These are great because they are full of bones and collagen, which create a rich, flavorful, and gelatinous broth. Other options for chicken parts are leftover chicken carcasses (store them in the freezer after roasting a chicken, until you have a few ready to go), or whole stewing hens (older chickens that are too tough to eat using quick-cooking methods).