Food Friday: Crockpot chicken stock

Homemade chicken stock was one of those things that I always meant to try to make but somehow never got around to trying. Recently we’ve been ordering some veggies and groceries from a local organic co-op that delivers (so handy if a little pricey) and they recently added a cooked chicken to their offerings – similar to the rotisserie chickens that so many grocery stores do now, but tastier and from organic free range chicken (and thus more expensive, of course). It comes already cooked and flavored, so you can eat it cold or warm it back up. Usually the two of us can get a regular dinner out of the breasts, then I pull off all the dark meat and make chicken salad for another lunch or two. Then there’s the carcass with all the bits that don’t come off easily, and after the first week when I guiltily threw it in the trash, I resolved to do something with it. And so, I gave a try to the Homemade Chicken Stock that’s in Jessica Fisher’s Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze cookbook. This is an awesome cookbook. I don’t buy many cookbooks these days, what with all the free recipes out there on the Internet, but this one I got from the library and immediately ordered my own copy. And this recipe turned out very good, and is quite easy since it uses the slow cooker. After dinner, I threw all the ingredients in, let it cook overnight, then let it cool a bit and packaged everything up in the morning.

Homemade Chicken Stock
from Jessica Fisher, Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook

The carcass of a whole roasted chicken
8 cups water
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium-sized onion, peeled and quartered
2 ribs celery, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces [I used celery flakes from Penzey’s]
6 black peppercorns
2 whole cloves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 bay leaf

Place all of the ingredients in the crock of a 5-quarter slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours or overnight. alternatively, place all the ingredients in a large stockpot and bring ot a gentle boil. Reduce the hear, cover, and simmer for 4 hours.
Strain the stock and discard the solids.
Use the stock in your recipe as needed or pour it into containers and allow it to cool. To freeze, chill in the refrigerator and remove the fat that rises to the top before freezing.

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