Getting Ahead – Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

I use chicken stock a LOT in cooking. I tend to buy the boxes of stock (always the low sodium variety) at the supermarket when it goes on sale. They last for months in your pantry and for quite a while in the fridge after you’ve opened them. I use the same box usually for a week or so before I have to open a new one. But there’s really nothing better than homemade chicken stock. But who the heck has time for that. Turns out. . . me!

 

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Place chicken bones and aromatics in crock pot. Cover with water. Walk away.

 

For a couple of months, I’ve been saving chicken bones and pieces and freezing them. I spatchcock chickens quite often for cooking so I had a few backbones. And I’ve made wings a few times recently so I had all those wing tips. So along with my gallon sized freezer bag of chicken bones and a package of backbones I saw at the supermarket, I decided to make and freeze stock with my slow cooker that I can use throughout Passover.

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When stock is done, strain out solids and allow to cool slightly. For clearer stock, strain again through cheese cloth. Allow to cool in refrigerator.

 

This is super easy to do and you honestly don’t have to do much prep to make it happen. I didn’t even peel the carrots, just wash and chop your veg and you’re ready to go. You’ll end up with lovely homemade chicken stock that you can use any time you like.

 

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When stock has cooled, skim off fat (schmaltz) to save for another use (matzoh balls, anyone?). Pour into containers and you are good to go.

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

  • 2-3 lbs chicken bones, thawed in fridge overnight if frozen
  • 4 large carrots, quartered
  • 1-2 large onions, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 4 large stalks celery, quartered (leaves are fine)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Water, enough to cover ingredients and leave a little space at the top of your slow cooker.

Put all ingredients in slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cook on low for at least 8-12 hours; the longer the better (I let mine go for about 16 hours). 

Allow to cool and then pour through strainer to remove solids. (Please remember to put a container under the strainer – I actually once poured two gallons of stock right down the drain because I’m an idiot). If you want it super clear, line your strainer with cheesecloth to catch all the little bits and pieces. In my case I did two strains, one through a colander and then one through a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.

Allow to cool a bit more and then refrigerate until well chilled. Skim fat from top of stock (it should be solid – almost like shortening). You can reserve this schmaltz (chicken fat) to use as cooking oil or discard it. Divide stock into freezer bags and freeze flat or put into plastic containers and freeze. Keep in mind that it will expand as it freezes so your containers may not survive the thawing process. I try to freeze about 2 cups worth in each container. Simply remove from freezer and allow to thaw in a bowl in the fridge before you need it (or microwave it)

How easy is this! If you do this a couple of weeks before Passover or Thanksgiving you may not need to buy any stock at all!

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