Place a large stockpot filled with cold water on stove without heat.
Fry bacon in a heavy-bottomed skillet on medium heat until crispy. Remove and reserve for later, keeping skillet with bacon drippings on medium heat.
Add olive oil to the skillet and allow it to heat for about 1 minute. Add chicken pieces and sauté for approximately 5 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from the skillet as they are cooked and add them to the pot of cold water.
Once all of the chicken pieces have been seared and added to the pot of water, add the carrots, onions, celery, thyme and bay leaves. Turn the heat to high, bring the liquid to a bubble and immediately reduce the heat to medium-low. Maintain the stock at a low simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
Once the stock has been simmering for 30 minutes, remove chicken and pull the meat from the bones but don’t discard those chicken bones! Set aside to cool then place the chicken meat in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a later use.
Return bones to the pot. Continue to slowly simmer the stock (uncovered) on low for 4 hours, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Feel free to add only enough hot water to keep the chicken bones and vegetables covered while simmering—allowing a little bit of water to cook off will concentrate the flavor of your finished stock.
Once the stock has simmered a good 4–5 hours, strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve lined with a bit of cheesecloth. Discard the bones and vegetables then skim the fat from the top of the stock.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
One Last Thing
Once you make this recipe, you’ll never use the store-bought stuff again!