The last post was all about roast chicken and there's little that is more comforting than roast chicken. But when you have a freezer full of homemade chicken stock, you realize that you have a fierce contender.
Chicken stock can be easily made from the leftovers of roast chicken. And by leftovers, I'm not talking about the meat, but rather the bones and veggies. However, at our house, the wings are not usually eaten and sometimes not even the legs so I put them in with the meat on. I used to put the bones and fresh cut vegetables into a pot, add some herbs, season it, and let it simmer for a few hours. This yields a good, clean light chicken stock.
Then, I chanced on the idea of roasting the bones and vegetables before simmering. This concept changed my chicken stock making efforts and only increased the time slightly. The result is a dark chicken stock that has more flavor, perfect for heartier dishes.
Both light and dark stocks have their place, but I think the one you prefer is the one you should make.
For the dark stock, I use the vegetables that I used as a natural roasting rack for the chicken and I add a few more fresh ones, and some "scraps" from my stock bag. My stock bag is a gallon-size plastic bag that I keep in the freezer and put the tops and skins of onions, carrot skins, celery leaves, shallot trimmings, etc ... as I cook. I toss vegetables and the bones from the roast chicken with a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste (more depending on how many vegetables and bones you have), a drizzle of olive oil, and roast at 400 degrees F for about 45 minutes. Then it all goes in my stockpot along with fresh parsley, thyme sprigs, 2-3 Tablespoons of peppercorns, a bit of salt, and gets covered with water. A wonderful addition is to deglaze the roasting pan with a cup of white wine and add it to the pot. I let it simmer, uncovered, 4-5 hours, strain it and put it in freezer cartons for the freezer.
It is useful to have chicken broth on hand and when you've made it yourself you know exactly how it tastes and how it will influence the flavor of the recipes you are making.