Homemade chicken stock is a great thing for any cook to have on hand. And in these days of economic woes and wildly cold weather, homemade stock can be inexpensive and therapeutic. Whether you're snowed in, sick, or just craving comfort on a Saturday afternoon or chilly Friday night, you will never regret a session of stock making.

Making stock from scratch takes a little time, but not a whole lot of effort. The steps are easy. Here's my personal recipe:

1. Prep: Combine the following with 8 cups of cold water in a Dutch oven:

1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
3 springs of parsley
3 sprigs of thyme
1 garlic clove
5 whole black peppercorns
1 whole roasting chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds)

2. Simmer: Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours (skimming the foam from the top is ideal).

3. Strain. Pour through a strainer to remove the solids. Cool the stock, uncovered, to room temperature. Cover and chill overnight. Skim the fat.

Storage: You can portion the stock in about 1 3/4 cup servings (the size of a standard can of broth) and freeze them for up to 1 month.

MONEY SAVING TIP: I like to remove the breast fillets from the whole chicken before adding it to the stock, stretching my investment in the chicken.

For a richer stock, try our recipe for Brown Chicken Stock.