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
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!

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