DIY: Chicken Stock (in the slow cooker)

Homemade Chicken Stock from Homekeeping AdventuresI’ve had a DIY success recently and I wanted to share with you. Chicken stock is something I use quite often and I’d been wanting to try a DIY version for quite a while. The store-bought stock is expensive and full of unpronounceable ingredients and even the low-sodium kinds are so salty. I hoped that by DIY-ing it I could cut out the excess salt and processed ingredients and save a little money in the process. After googling “homemade chicken stock” I came to the conclusion there are countless variations of a basic method and I came up with one that worked best for me.

My method has several benefits that I find helpful. First, I use my slow cooker to make the stock so I don’t have to worry about having my range or oven turned on for hours. Second, I use a whole chicken (instead of just bones) so I end up with a good amount of meat to shred and freeze for later use in recipes. Finally, even though it takes an extra few hours, I can make the stock fat-free which is really nice.

If you would like to try making your own chicken stock, I hope you find this method useful!

Homemade Chicken Stock (yields approx. 10 cups)

(my own method, adapted from several sources)
1 whole chicken (~3.5 lbs.)
2-3 carrots or 2 handfuls baby carrots
2-3 stalks celery
1 large yellow or sweet onion
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. whole peppercorns
Apple Cider Vinegar
Water
1 bunch fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley

1) If necessary, remove the neck and giblets from the chicken. Rinse the chicken inside and out in cold water, pat dry with a paper towel, and place in the slow cooker.

2) Peel the onion and chop into halves or quarters. Chop the carrots and celery into ~3 inch pieces. Add the veggies to the slow cooker, surrounding the chicken. Add the bay leaf and sprinkle in the peppercorns.

3) Add 8 to 10 cups cold water (depending on the size of your slow cooker).  Add a splash of apple cider vinegar (about 1 to 2 tablespoons).

4) Cover and cook on low at least 8 hours. I usually start mine in the evening and let it go all night, about 12 to 14 hours. When the time is up, turn off the cooker and place the whole bunch of parsley in with the stock. Cover again and let cool for an hour or two.

5) Remove the chicken (it will be falling off the bone) and shred the meat. Refrigerate or freeze for later use.

6) Pour the stock through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Discard the veggies, chicken bones, and seasonings.

7) Refrigerate the stock at least 8 hours, or until the fat has separated and congealed at the top. Once this has happened, use a slotted spoon to remove and discard the fat.

8) Refrigerate or freeze your stock or use immediately. I freeze mine in 2-cup portions in plastic freezer bags.

9) Celebrate your DIY success!

Slow Cooker Pot Roast

There are some times when a picture is not worth a thousand words. This is one of those times. Some dishes don’t photograph well even for people with good photography skills, and since I don’t have those, I end up with a photo like the one above. But you need to trust me on this one. Even though it isn’t very pretty, this pot roast is so good. And it fulfills (almost) every possible recipe desire!

Comfort food? Check

Easy to make? Check

Meat and potatoes dish for the man in your life? Check

Minimal list of ingredients? Check

Great leftovers? Check

Makes the house smell uber-yummy all day? Check

So even if you can’t trust the picture, please trust the words. This recipe really is easy, tasty, and perfect for those chilly fall and winter days when the comfort food cravings are strong. I like to serve the meat and lots of gravy over egg noodles or mashed potatoes, and the leftovers make awesome French Dip Sandwiches.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast (my own recipe)

3-3.5 lb. chuck roast*
2 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 large yellow onion
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 packet dry onion soup/dip mix
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup red wine**
*I find the cut marked “chuck tender roast” is my favorite, but cuts marked “chuck roast” or “pot roast” work well also.
**You can substitute beef broth for the wine, but if you do, use low sodium broth and condensed soup.

 

Slice onion into 1/2-3/4 inch slices, crosswise (as if making onion rings). Place slices into slow cooker (you are making a place for the roast to sit). In a bowl, stir together condensed soup, dry soup mix, water, and wine.

Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the chuck roast and dredge both sides in flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear roast on both sides until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes per side.

Transfer roast to slow cooker, placing on top of onion slices. Pour soup/wine mix over the roast. Cook on low 7-8 hours. Shred meat with a fork, removing any excess fat, and serve over preferred starch with lots of gravy.

20111020-073320.jpg