Growing up I remember my mom making chicken soup from scratch. The smell and taste of freshly made soup is pretty amazing no matter the variety. It was almost always done within a few days of having a big turkey or chicken dinner. Okay, I guess if it was a turkey then the soup would really be more like turkey noodle soup but whatever… you get the idea – poultry soup. That just doesn’t have the same ring to it though. But what if you don’t want to make soup right away? Certainly you could and just freeze it, but even then that isn’t quite the same.
A while back I read a post by the wonderful Aimee of Simple Bites. She talked about saving your scraps to make vegetable stock. It took me a while to remember to do this. Many scraps tossed. Shame on me. Someday maybe I’ll get into composting but I don’t see that being done in the immediate future. For now, saving scraps this way will have to do. So eventually I remembered. The idea is to save the scraps that you would otherwise be throwing out while making another dish. If you’re shaving your carrots or cutting off the ends, toss those in a plastic bag or bowl to freeze. The same goes for so many other veggies: onions – save the skin and outer portion that you might not opt to normally use, celery, etc. The key is making sure your items are clean as well as labeling your container. I used a plastic container, then labeled the top with masking tape “for chicken stock”. That way no one else would throw it out and I’d keep reminding myself to throw more scraps in as time went on! The beauty of this is that you’re not wasting money on fresh veggies to make stock and then toss those same veggies out. You’re using items that would have been tossed to begin with… saving both money and time! That’s always a good thing.
I took the general idea from Aimee’s post on vegetable stock, compared it to one of Alton Brown’s recipes and went on my merry way. My goal was chicken stock but a reduced portion in comparison to the others. Plus, I’d be using a slow cooker and not cooking on the stove. For many this is another big bonus. Make stock while you’re at work, doing errands, etc and come home to freshly made chicken stock.
I promise this is not only easy but tasty and a must try at least once. I’ll certainly still be buying stock from the store on occasion but I’m also trying to remember to save my veggie scraps for when I want to make my own stock again in the future. Save those scraps!
Should you not have scraps, that’s totally okay. I did a mix of fresh veggies and frozen scraps. Listed below is roughly what you want, regardless of if it’s frozen or fresh.
1 chicken or turkey carcass
1 large onion
2 bay leaves
4 celery ribs
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 tbsp parsley
Using a 5qt slow cooker, place chicken carcass in the center. Arrange chopped veggies and other ingredients around the outside. Pour 10 cups water carefully into slow cooker.
Cook on high for at least 6 hours.
Using a ladle, fine mesh strainer and a large bowl - spoon liquid and solids into strainer, over the bowl. Discard solids. Continue until you have emptied the slow cooker.
Create an ice bath around your bowl, using your sink or an even larger bowl. This will help to drop the temperature of the chicken stock faster.
Cover and chill overnight in the fridge. After sitting overnight, spoon off fat. Portion out the liquid into containers, marked with the contents and how much was placed in there for easy cooking later.
This recipe will create roughly 8-8 1/2 cups of chicken stock. Store in the fridge for up to several days or in the freezer for 3 months or longer.