Chicken stock is the key to many recipes, and you’re probably buying loads of the canned stuff from the grocery store. I was, too, until I started making it myself. It only took one batch of homemade stock to make me a convert. I never went back to store-bought because the flavor, texture and price are so much better when it is homemade. You can do it, too, and it’s easier than you think.
In my house, we roast a whole chicken almost every week. We have some of it that night and use the leftovers in everything from tacos to soups throughout the week.
Previously, the carcass got tossed in the trash. One day, I decided to toss the scraps into my slow cooker with some leftover vegetables, and I realized making chicken stock was one of the easiest and most convenient things I’d ever made. And when it was done? It was delicious!
Since I’ve been at this for a few years, I developed a system that works well for my family. Anytime we use carrots, celery, onions or herbs, we save the scraps (the peels, the stems, the leaves, etc) in a bag in the freezer. We do the same with the carcass after roasting a chicken. When the bags fill up, we pull out the slow cooker and make beautiful homemade stock.
Once the stock is made, I store it in 2-cup increments in freezer bags, since they stack well or can be tucked into unused corners between the ice cream and the frozen berries. If I know I’ll be using the stock within the next week, I store it in mason jars in the refrigerator*. I label the type of stock and the quantity, and now flavorful homemade chicken stock is always there when I need it.
Try this recipe at home, and let us know if it changes the way you use chicken stock in your kitchen.
- 1 roasted chicken carcass
- 4 medium carrots, peeled and cut in 2-inch pieces
- 2 stalks celery, cut in 2-inch pieces
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 piece fresh basil
- 1 piece fresh parsley
- 8 cups water
- Place chicken in slow cooker crock. Arrange carrots, celery, garlic and onion around chicken. Add bay leaf and sprinkle with peppercorns.
- Tie herbs together to make a bouquet garni. Place on top of chicken and vegetables. Pour water over ingredients in crock.
- Cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours on HIGH or 6 to 7 hours on LOW.
- Strain stock into a large cup or bowl with spout. Discard chicken, vegetables and seasonings.
- Use immediately or freeze in serving-size portions.
- Makes 6 to 8 cups.