So there I was, listing off the ingredients in a pot of stew, one of which was homemade chicken stock, and my friend Vance interrupted: "How do you make chicken stock?" Vance, my dear, it's the easiest thing in the world. No chicken bones (or ham or bison or fish) pass through my kitchen without doing second duty as stock. So here's how to make chicken stock:
Buy chicken and cut the meat off the bones, or roast a chicken and use the leftover bones. Put the bones in a pot and cover with water. Add one big onion quartered, one or two carrots quartered, one or two celery stalks quartered, some sprigs of fresh parsley (or dried), a bay leaf, a pinch of peppercorns and, if you have it, a teaspoon of coriander seeds. (You may have noticed that, other than the peppercorns, this is made entirely with Saskatchewan ingredients.) Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer covered for an hour. Cool the pot. Put the pot in the fridge (or outside when the weather is cold) until the fat solidifies on the surface -- lift off the fat and discard. Drain the stock to remove the bones and vegetables. The stock is now ready for cooking. Use it in: Barley Risotto, Four Grain Soup, Zuppa del Contadina, Hot & Sour Soup or Beef Bourguignon.
TIP I keep a zipper bag of scrap vegetables in the freezer for making stock: things like carrot peels, onion and celery trimmings, stems of parsley and other herbs, garlic skins, tomato ends -- anything that would add flavour to stock. When I start a batch of stock, I dump this bag of scraps into the water with the bones. Nothing goes to waste!