I buy whole cut chickens a lot because they’re really inexpensive. When I make dinner I take all the extra parts – the neck, giblets, back, and trimmed-off fat and skin – and toss them in a zip-lock bag to freeze until I can make stock. I just hate to waste anything. But you have to cook stock forever and it takes a bit of minding and eventually I’ve got a lot of bags of random chicken bits taking up space in the freezer.
One day I looked at my crock pot and said, “Hey, wait a minute….” Sure enough, there are crock pot stock recipes. I used this recipe from Allrecipes. I think it’s important to note that you can make this with leftover bits like me, use the carcass from a rotisserie chicken, or whatever you’ve got lying around. Just be sure you’ve got bones and fat or drippings, because that’s where the flavor is. Bonus: you can start with frozen chicken bits, no problem!
Crock Pot Chicken Stock
- 2 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces, chicken carcass, or other leftovers with skin and bones
- water, including any drippings, to cover
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 onion, quartered
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon dried parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
Put everything in the crock pot. Make sure there is enough liquid to come to about an inch over the ingredients. Cook on Low setting for 8 to 10 hours. Strain before using, and discard vegetables. Yield depends on the liquid used, but 4-6 cups is typical.
If you have large chunks of meat in your stock you can save them for use in soup or chicken salad. I’ve tried saving all the cooked meat, but trying to get all the teeny bones out is a fair bit of work for the yield.
To store: You can pressure can chicken stock if you’re ambitious, but it will keep quite a while in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. If you use small amounts of stock while cooking, freeze some in an ice-cube tray, then transfer the cubes to s zip-lock bag.
Low fat: If you’d like a lower-fat stock, refrigerate the stock for a couple hours and you’ll find the fat has all floated to the top and congealed and is easy to remove. But remember: that’s where the flavor is!