Roasting the chicken and vegetables imbues the stock with deep color and flavor. This recipe employs both boiling and simmering to different effect. Boiling water helps release the fond, or browned bits that stick to the bottom of the roasting pan; this process, called deglazing, enriches the stock. The secret to keeping the stock clear is to simmer very gently so that none of the fat or insoluble specks of protein emulsify into the liquid but instead float to the top where they're easily skimmed off. The long cooking time depletes the chicken of most of its flavor and texture, so the meat is best discarded or offered to pets (discard bones). Refrigerate stock up to one week, or freeze in one-cup increments for up to three months.
5 pounds chicken drumsticks, skinned
2 large carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 large onion, quartered
16 cups cold water, divided
7 thyme sprigs
1 bunch parsley stems
1 bay leaf
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 450°.
Arrange chicken drumsticks, carrots, and onion in a single layer in the bottom of 2 broiler pans or roasting pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes. Turn chicken over, and rotate pans on oven racks. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until browned.
Transfer chicken and vegetables to a 6-quart stockpot. Carefully discard drippings from broiler pans, leaving browned bits. Place 1 broiler pan on stovetop; add 2 cups water to pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; simmer 2 minutes, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Carefully pour contents of broiler pan into stockpot. Repeat procedure with remaining broiler pan and 2 cups water.
Add remaining 12 cups water, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf to stockpot; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer gently 2 hours, skimming foam and fat from the surface occasionally. Strain stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl. Discard solids. Cover and chill stock for 8 hours or overnight. Skim solidified fat from surface of stock; discard fat.