Chicken stock is a blessing to the food world. It makes rice and pasta taste amazing, is essential to risotto and soups, and when you’re sick, it’s so good for your recovering body. Especially if your chicken stock is homemade. Homemade bone broth is soothing, flavorful, and SO GOOD FOR YOU. If you haven’t before, I highly suggest you take a quick browse online and read about the benefits of bone broth! Thankfully, homemade chicken stock is so easy to make. This is important to me because all of the stock options (at least that I’ve seen) sold in grocery stores have celery, potato, carrot, AND/or corn-derived ingredients.
Fortunately, with a carcass from a Roasted Chicken Dinner, a few vegetables, and a crockpot, we can make something that is healthier and tastes infinitely better than any grocery store product. After learning how easy it was to make chicken stock and being thrilled with my first batch, I’ve come to relish saving my chicken bones up in the freezer for the day when I can make a big pot of chicken stock. It’s gotten so bad that sometimes when I go out to eat and have chicken bones leftover, or sometimes when I go to someone else’s house and see them throwing away a chicken carcass, I just want to fish the bones out of the trash, pet them, and bag them, saying, “I’ll never let you go to waste, you poor misunderstood chicken bones.” Of course, I don’t actually do that….
The best thing about this easy project is that you can use whatever is in your house at the time to make stock. Really, mine ends up being a combination of chicken and veggie stock. I save up my chicken bones and vegetables ends, peelings, and scraps in a freezer bag until I’m ready to make stock. Consequentially, my chicken stock is never made the same way twice! So… this really isn’t a recipe… I’ll say it’s really a reminder of the health benefits of chicken stock, a way to show you how I make mine free of the normal ingredients, and a few tips I’ve found along the way that make the process yield the best result!
Homemade Crockpot Chicken Stock
Chicken carcass or chicken bones- make sure this includes lots of joint bones (feet, necks, wings) so your stock will gel!
2 tsp. peppercorns
1 tsp. salt (optional)
A bay leaf or two
A bunch of thyme sprigs
2 tbl. apple cider vinegar- the vinegar helps draw the nutrients out of the bones
Various veggies and veggies ends. This time I used:
Parsnips and parsnip peelings
Sweet potato and beet ends
Place your bones on a cookie sheet covered in foil and broil them in the oven until they are dark brown. Be sure to watch them very carefully so they don’t burn! (This is not a necessary step, but it’s a quick one that will yield a richer flavor for your broth!)
If using whole, fresh veggies- While the bones broil, chop your vegetables roughly. They don’t need to look pretty or uniform; they’re about to be cooked down to nothing. And no need to peel or skin them first! Much of the nutrients in vegetables is in the skin, so be sure to add veggie peelings and ends to your pot!
Put all ingredients into a crockpot dish. Pour water into the crockpot dish until it is one inch below the top. Cover and cook on low for 12-24 hours.
(To yield the greatest amount of stock, I take out half of the chicken stock I’ve made every 12-24 hours and refill the crockpot with water. You can do this 2 or 3 more times and yield a really good amount of stock that doesn’t lose its flavor! I’ve actually found that the later batches have a deeper, richer color and flavor that I covet every time I go to use stock.)
When removing your stock, strain it through a mesh sieve into a bowl, and refrigerate. When it has cooled, skim off any fat that is on the surface and discard (or save for cooking with later).
To freeze your stock- I like to freeze my stock in 1/2 cup disks. How do I do this? I have two 1/2 c. measuring cups and two 1 c. measuring cups. I fill each one of these measuring cups with 1/2 c. stock, and freeze them until their contents are solid. When they’ve frozen all the way through, I remove the frozen disks (it helps to run hot water over the sides), place them in a gallon freezer bag, and start the process over again. I continue this until I’ve frozen all of my stock this way. Yes, it takes extra time, but it is completely worth it when I’m ready to use stock in recipes and dishes. I know exactly how much stock I’m adding, and I don’t have to defrost an entire bag when I only need a small amount!
I hope that this post provided you with some new thoughts, ingredients, methods, or tips for making homemade broth!
Happy Hump Day!