Chicken stock is the key to many recipes, and you’re probably buying loads of the canned or boxed 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.
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.
*Do not freeze stock in glass mason jars.