Last week, I went out to lunch with some neighborhood friends, but before I did I put components for chicken stock into the slow cooker and set it to “low,” so that it could simmer all day long. I had gotten a rotisserie chicken (I find they make absolutely the best stock), had stripped the meat off of it, and placed all of the remaining parts into the slow cooker. I surrounded it with carrots, celery, one package of Melissa’s Pearl Onions, that I had carefully rinsed, a variety of fresh herbs and seasonings, and, on a whim, pulled a package of dried mushrooms out of the cabinet (in this case, Melissa’s Dried Portobellos), gave them a good rinse, and added them to the pot. Adding the dried mushrooms made a world of difference. I have never tasted a better chicken stock than this one! Just looking at the picture here, you can see that it is rich and loaded with flavor. Any dish that calls for chicken stock will be greatly enhanced by using this mushroom variety. Keep this in mind the next time you make stock, adding dried mushrooms is going to benefit it immensely. Let’s face it, when you go to the effort to make a good chicken stock, you want to be amply rewarded.
Mushroom Chicken Stock
1 whole chicken or rotisserie chicken*
1 pkg. Melissa’s Pearl Onions, washed, skin on
1 pkg. Melissa’s Dried Portobellos, rinsed
2-3 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
2 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch pieces, with leaves in tact
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 cold water to cover. Cook on low for 8 hours. Allow to cool slightly, and then 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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