Stock of the chicken persuasion

Have you ever made a chicken in the crockpot? If not, you should do so immediately. It is soooo goooood.  It falls apart and is juicy and tender and very enjoyable in general. This lady will give you some tips for delicious chicken a la crockpot.

I made ours on Sunday, separated leftover chicken into one container and put the bones and skin in another container, then threw out all the unidentifiable bits.

Then, on Monday, take the leftovers and make stock with them.

Mmmmm…. I can almost smell the stocky goodness radiating from that picture.

Okay, here’s what you need:

chicken carcass- bones, skin, leftover chicken meat if you want
celery: leafy parts and 2 ribs
carrots: 3-5
onion: 1 medium, any variety
garlic: 4-5 cloves
dried mushrooms: 6-8 (optional)
lots of water
some herbs (dried are fine)
a big pot or two

I took my chicken bones and skin and divided it betwen two large pots, covered the bits with cold water, and put on the stovetop to boil. While it’s getting hot, chop up some onions, celery, and carrots, and roughly smash your garlic.

* Here’s a tip– the leafy green parts of the celery are SO GOOD in chicken stock. They are super flavorful and fragrant, and you don’t have to use as many actual ribs if you chop up all the leaves. I also don’t bother cleaning the carrots- just chop everything into rough mismatched-sized bits, and once you’re boiling, throw it all in. 

I also like adding 3-4 dried shitaake mushrooms into each pot. They add sort of a dark, earthy flavor to the stock.

Once you’ve got your veggies in and everything’s rolling in a nice, tight boil, it’s time to add some herbage.  Depending on your favorite flavors, you can pretty much add anything and any amount. Here’s what I use, from most to least:
Parsley
kosher salt
black pepper
thyme
sage (rubbed)
oregano (leaves, not ground)
2 bay leaves
rosemary

Now comes the tricky part-:  boil, uncovered, for at least 4 hours, stirring ocassionally. This part is tricky because your house is going to smell sooooo goooood that you will be salivating all over.  

If your stock gets some foamy white stuff on top, you can carefully spoon it out periodically and toss it down the drain.

I don’t really pay attention to time, honestly, but I try to reduce the amount of liquid in half. So if you’ve got one full pot of water when you start, you’re going to boil until it’s about half full. Since I used two pots (8 qt and 6.5 qt), I reduced both pots down, combined them into the larger pot, and reduced a little more to end up with 7 qts of stock.

It’s very scientific, as you can tell.

Once you’ve boiled and reduced, it’s time to strain and store.

Some people will tell you to use a fine mesh strainer; others suggest using cheesecloth to get a clear, attractive stock. That’s cool. I just used my big-holed collander because I’m going for flavor, not looks. Some teeny bits of onion and herbs floated through, and I’m okay with that.

I store my chicken stock in large canning jars in the back of my fridge. I also filled two clean icecube trays with stock and froze it, then broke the cubes into a plastic bag. Just another storing option that doesn’t take up all your fridge space.

Ta-Da! Homemade, low-sodium, delicious and nutritious chicken broth.  Almost makes me want to be sick, so I have an excuse to make chicken noodle soup.

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2 Comments

Filed under Chicken, Soups

2 responses to “Stock of the chicken persuasion

  1. Crockpot chicken is delicious, but I like to use the crockpot to make the stock too. Gives me more flexibility to leave the house/go to sleep while leaving the stock to simmer away.

    High on my crockpot = a nice healthy simmer which works nicely.

  2. Pingback: Chicken stew with homemade noodles « Overgrown Waltz

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