Chicken or vegetable stock is the most useful of all stocks. Its neutral flavor can be used in red meat, poultry, fish, rice, grain and vegetable preparations. There are some basic guidelines for making stock but the recipe is meant to be flexible and take advantage of what is on hand in the kitchen.
2 quarts chicken bones, optional
1-2 quarts roughly chopped onion, carrot, celery and/or leeks
1-2 cups vegetable trimmings such as broccoli or asparagus stems, peppers, mushrooms or fennel
a handful of parsley stems
a handful of fresh thyme or teaspoon of dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns