You can consider this page as “Part 2” of our Crockpotting a Whole Roasting Chicken page. Now that your chicken is cooked, here’s how we’re going to turn all the leftovers into a fantastic homemade chicken stock. It’s totally frugal, totally healthy, AND I don’t add any salt so I know it’s not some sodium laden chemical induced concoction that I paid waay too much for at the store! Now, where to start?
This was during the cooking of the whole roasting chicken. Do you remember when we were here? We put our chicken in the crock, sliced an onion and a head of garlic in half, chopped half our celery and some carrots and tossed those in there too? Let’s look at what we have left outside the crock. Do you have any freezer bags? I LOVE those things. Go grab one and continue with the chopping! Toss your onion in the bag, and the leftover garlic too. chop up the rest of the celery and carrots and add them to the bag. You can toss the bag in the fridge and then when it’s time to make the stock, just pull it out and you’re set to go!
If you have a bag of chopped veg all ready to go that you prepped while making the roasting chicken, congrats, you’re ahead of the game! If not, here’s what you’ll need for the stock:
- a whole chicken carcass – we want the bones, the skins, any meat that was too much work to pull off the bones, any tendons or sinew, any juices that came from the chicken or pot it was cooked in. Basically anything you didn’t eat already, you want for this stock.
- Half of a large yellow onion. You can leave the skin on, it adds a nice color to the broth.
- Half a head of garlic sliced horizontally. Again, go ahead and leave the skin on.
- 3 or 4 carrots, sliced up
- roughly half a head of celery, sliced up. You can use the stalks, the flowers, the stems, even the base. It all works here.
- some seasoning for the stock – salt/pepper to taste, I personally don’t use ANY salt in mine, but that’s a preference thing. Some parsley is nice too.
- many people recommend a splash of any sort of vinegar at this point. Just enough to help the calcium leach from the bones a little better. I have done it with and without the vinegar and never noticed a difference either way, so feel free to add it or not!
That’s it. And a neat little trick with that celery stem? When you are done chopping all the celery and there’s that little base left like you see in the picture above? You can use it for the stock if you like, you can save it in a freezer bag for your next batch of stock if you like, OR, if you have kids at home, you can take it and dip it in finger paints and then use it like a stamp – – it makes the prettiest little flower design!
Alright. So get all the ingredients together and just dump them in that crock pot. Chicken bones, skins, meat remains, onions, garlic, carrots, celery, any a little seasoning. Add some water to the mix. I like to fill the crock up to just below the lip where the lid sits. Makes sure to leave some space for any bubbling though. I would say I add roughly 6 cups of water to get to this level, but it’s very much NOT an exact science here.
You can either crank that baby up to high and let the crock work for about 6 hours, or you can leave it on low and let it run overnight – say for roughly 10-12 hours. It is my experience that you cannot overcook the stock. The longer you cook it, the more stronger, deeper flavored the stock will be. If you cook it for minimum time, it will be a nice, light, pretty tan sort of a color and a little weaker in taste.
In this picture I had chosen to let it cook on low overnight and this is what it looked like in the morning. Yummy smelling, but kind of looks like a brown veggie stew that has gone totally limp. That’s ok though, the next step is to strain out all the veggies and bones and save all of the yummy, newly enriched, juice!
There may be better ways to do this, but this is my method. I put a small strainer in a large bowl and just start scooping the chunks out of the crock. Save as much stock as you can, you don’t want that stuff going in the trash after you spent all that hard work of sitting around or sleeping while the crock pot did all the work!
Here’s what I got out of it. There’s still one more important step left though. Take your bowl of new stock and plastic wrap the top. Pop it into the fridge for at least 8 hours. (You can let it cool to a reasonable temperature so you don’t just end up heating up your fridge if you like.) While the new stock is in the fridge, it will separate out and when it’s done you’ll find a film of waxy, fatty, white skin on the top.
Can you see it? This bowl was a nightmare to take pictures with – too much of a reflection! Anyways, you want to skim that white stuff as best you can. It comes off pretty easily if you scrape a spoon over it. Throw the white stuff in the trash and then you officially have your chicken stock! Yay!
Mix the stock up a little in the bowl to help stir up anything that has settled to the bottom and then figure out how you’re going to store your stock until you need it. I like to store mine in mason jars and then freeze them until I need them. (I know, again it’s not the prettiest picture in the world, sorry about that.) Make sure you leave at least an inch of head room in the jar before you freeze it or it will expand and break your jar. The jar on the right is waay too full to freeze, but I had plans to use this stock the very next morning in a different dish so it just spent the night in the fridge until I made some soup out of it ;-D
And that’s it! You’re done! Congratulations, you’ve cooked a whole chicken AND made it into stock as well! Look how handy you are!!