I am a bit of a stock-making newbie, and I need some help.
For a long time, I used store-bought stock (or bullion cubes), but for the last few months, I have been taking all the leftover parts from my chicken (or turkey), throwing them into a pot with carrots, celery, onion, parsley, salt, and pepper, and cooking for a few hours. I don't really reduce the volume much. When done, I cool the stock and freeze it in large containers to use in making large batches of soup or stew. I like to make a lot at a time because many of my recipes call for 6 or more quarts (I am cooking for a crowd and for leftovers, so I tend to double or triple some recipes). I feel like my stock is an improvement over bullion cubes, but could be much better.
My confusion lies largely along two lines: #1 How much stuff to put into the stock, and #2 what ratio of stock:water to use on the back end.
With this in mind, let's say I want to make stock in a 14 qt stock pot (12 quarts of water + solids at the start). How many chicken carcasses do I need for this? How many onions, carrots, celery stalks, etc. How long should I let it simmer if I am not really concerned with reducing it? Finally, when it is done and I want to use it in a recipe, if the recipe calls for 6 quarts, should I use 6 quarts of my stock straight, or should I cut it with water?
Thanks so much--I appreciate all your help.