As convenient as canned broth may be, there is no substitute for rich, velvety homemade chicken stock. Simmer chicken, vegetables, seasonings, and water for a few hours to make your own. Here's how.
Step 1: Cut chicken and vegetables
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Cut up 3 carrots, 1 large onion, and 4 pounds bony chicken pieces (wings, backs, and/or necks). If you're using wings, cut each wing at the joints into three pieces; this exposes more surface area of the chicken for richer flavor.
Step 2: Roast chicken and vegetables
Combine the chicken pieces, carrots, and onion in a large, shallow roasting pan. Distribute the chicken and vegetables evenly around the pan. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until well browned, turning occasionally. Drain off fat. Place the chicken, carrots, and onion in a 10-quart Dutch oven or kettle.
Step 3: Deglaze the pan
After removing the chicken and vegetables, pour 1/2 cup water into the roasting pan, scraping up the flavorful browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour this liquid into the Dutch oven.
Add 12 cups water to the Dutch oven. If desired, add vegetables and seasonings to flavor the stock. Simmer the meat and vegetables, covered, in the Dutch oven for 5 hours. Gelatin from the bones helps to thicken the stock.
Step 5: Strain the stock
Strain the stock through two layers of 100-percecnt-cotton cheesecloth layered in a colander set over a large bowl. Discard chicken and vegetables. If desired, clarify broth.
To clarify hot strained broth: Return broth to Dutch oven. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup cold water and 1 beaten egg white. Stir egg white mixture into broth. Bring to boiling. Remove from heat; let stand for 4 minutes. Strain again.
Step 6: Skim the fat
Skim the fat off finished stock. If you're using the hot stock immediately, skim liquid fat off with a spoon. Or, you can chill the stock until the fat congeals and lift it off with a spoon.