Here is a quick tip that is going to make life so much easier for those of you who make your own chicken stock – make it in the Crock Pot! For those of you who don’t make your own stock, start now. There is nothing better or more satisfying than to make stock out of something that you would normally throw away. Stock can be made with a whole, uncooked chicken from the market, but I find that the tastiest stock comes from a chicken that has already been seasoned and roasted, meat carved away and consumed at dinner or piled on a sandwich. I leave a good bit of chicken on the bone for extra flavor and toss the entire carcass into the pot.
There is a debate over whether or not the meat from a chicken used to make stock should be eaten. I say, don’t. Whether made on the top of the stove or using this crock pot method, stock takes many hours of simmering in order to produce a flavorful end result. This means that the meat has pretty much had every bit of flavor cooked out of it.
Crock Pot Chicken Stock
1 whole chicken or rotisserie chicken*
1 medium yellow onion, washed, skin on, quartered
2-3 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces, with leaves in tact
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
½ teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 sprig fresh)
1 teaspoon rubbed sage (or 1 sprig fresh)
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
½ teaspoon whole peppercorns
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
Place all ingredients in a slow cooker. Add 5 to 6 cups cold water, or whatever it takes to cover the chicken. Cook on low for 8 hours. Place a large colander in a large bowl. Pour the stock into the colander, separating the solids from the liquids. Discard solids. Pour the stock into jars or containers. I use various sized plastic containers from 1/2 cup up to 3 cups, so it is premeasured for just about any recipe that I need. If you plan to freeze the stock, leave about an inch at the top for liquid expansion, otherwise use within three days.
*As rotisserie chickens tend to be highly seasoned, I find that they yield the most flavorful stock.
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