Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken Stock

As promised, I am back to share how I made my chicken stock in the Crock Pot after cooking the Easiest Whole Chicken.  This is a great way to use all of the skin, bones, cartilage, etc that would otherwise get thrown away after picking all of the good meat off of the chicken.  It is much cheaper to make your own stock (and you can even make it organic!) than to buy it at the store...and I think the homemade version is much tastier, too.

I used the basic principles shared in 100 Days of Real Food's recipe for Overnight Chicken Stock in the Crock Pot.  They recommend storing the stock in the freezer for 3-4 days or freezing it for up to 6 months.  I like to use Ziploc containers for freezing stock because they are BPA-free and come in a variety of sizes.

Once the chicken stock is made, it can be used in a variety of ways.  I plan to use it for a butternut squash soup later this week (stock is always a great base for soups).  It also is a perfect way to add flavor to couscous and rice.  I regularly add a splash of broth or stock to frozen dishes when I reheat them on the stove...it adds a little bit of moisture and flavor to those frozen beans or soups.  There are so many uses for stock, and making it in the slow cooker is so easy that you'll have no excuse not to make it from your leftover chicken bones and/or carcass.

chicken stock
Homemade Chicken Stock

Here's how I made the stock:

Crock Pot Chicken Stock (makes a Crock Pot-full)

Ingredients
chicken carcass, bones, and skin from a 3-5 lb chicken
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
5 baby carrots (or 1 full-sized carrot), roughly chopped
3 tablespoons of dried chopped onion (or 1/2 - 1 whole chopped onion...I ran out so I used dried)
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon of dried parsley
1 teaspoon of dried thyme
salt, to taste
water

I left everything in the Crock Pot after I cooked the chicken (the garlic, onion, juices, spices, etc) and added the bones, skin, and carcass after they were picked clean of the good meat.  I threw the celery, carrots, dried onion, and spices on top of the bones and filled the crock pot to the top with tap water (leaving about 1/2 inch of room at the top for the liquid to simmer).  Then, I let the stock simmer on LOW all night (about 10 hours or so).  When the stock was ready, I put a sieve over a large container and ladled the stock through the sieve to remove all of the solids (bones, etc) from the liquid.  The stock can be refrigerated or frozen.

When I cooked the stock overnight, I woke up to the most wonderful smell in my kitchen.  The only down side of making this stock overnight is that you might end up craving chicken for breakfast!