3 lb (1.5 kg) chicken parts or bones (wings, necks and backs are especially good)
12 cups (3 L) water
2 onions, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, scraped, coarsely chopped
2 ribs celery, with leaves, sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon (5 mL) thyme
1/2 teaspoon (2 mL) salt
6 sprigs parsley
Place all ingredients in a large saucepan or kettle and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for at least 2 1/2 hours, removing any foam as it rises. (If using meatier parts or a whole chicken, you can remove meat from the bones after 1 hour of cooking; refrigerate meat for another use, or freeze in convenient amounts. Return bones, skin, etc. to pot and simmer, covered, for at least another 1 1/2 hours to extract all the flavour.)
Strain broth into a large bowl, discarding bones, vegetables and other solids. Let cool before placing broth in the refrigerator to sit overnight. (You can hasten the cooling process by placing the pot in cold water for a 1/2 hour or so.)
Remove fat that has congealed on top. The broth can then be reheated and served, or used to make other soups. Makes about 10 cups (2.5 L).
Note: Broth can be conveniently frozen in 1- or 2-cup (250 -500 mL) containers, or in ice cube trays, for up to 4 months. It can also be refrigerated, tightly covered, for up to 3 days. Drink it often on days when you have a cold.