Sunday, December 21, 2014

Homemade, Crock Pot Chicken Stock

It's been a long time since I last posted something, BUT I have a good excuse!  For the past few months, my family has been prepping for a big move- to Colorado!  Well, we are finally here.  And, I am ready to start some new and exciting projects/experiments.  For one, I have to replenish ALL of my cultures... yes, I left them in Florida.  But, they are in good hands and being cared for :)

So far, I have started a new sourdough starter, and I am working on a new SCOBY for kombucha. (Here is the link for my sourdough starter, if you haven't seen it yet!)  Since sourdough is different everywhere, I am really excited to start using it next week!  As for the SCOBY, it is still developing... very slowly.  More to come on that...


My first project will be to replenish my freezer with homemade stocks!  I've had friends tell me how good my beef stock is... so, I've decided to demonstrate my crock pot chicken stock as well! 

You have probably bought chicken stock/broth at the store to make homemade soups and sauces, right?  Well, what was the consistency?  Did you read the label?  What about MSG?  Your mind will be blown if you just take the time to look at what is in store-bought stock... BUT, making your own chicken stock is so easy!   Not to mention how delicious it is in homemade soups, sauces and rice dishes :)  

If you use a crock pot, like me, you don't have to worry about a leaving a burner on all night.  It is also easier to control the temperature of your stock!  Back in the day (before electric stoves), women used to put their stock pot on the back of the stove- that was the place that stayed warm but not too hot- so that their stock would be hot but not boil.  For them, just knocking the fire down was enough to keep the stove at the right temperature.  Fast forward to the modern-day wonder- the crock pot! 

First, to make chicken stock, you need a chicken carcass or two and all the skin and left-over parts that didn't get picked from the bones.  Don't be stingy, throw it all in!  I even throw in the juices that are left after making my French roast chicken.  This time, I made two roast chickens and put all the unused parts into my large crock pot.

Fill the crock up so that all the bones will be covered and add a couple T apple cider vinegar to help draw out all the good minerals.  After about 30 minutes, turn the crock pot on high.  This will bring your stock to a simmer.  At this time, you need to keep a pretty good watch over it so that you can scoop out and discard any foam that rises to the top.  After scooping, you can add carrots, onions or garlic and some pepper corns (or leave plain to season later).

Turn your crock pot down to "warm".  My crock pot still allows the stock to "gurgle"- not quite a simmer, but with an occasional bubble.  If your warm setting doesn't seem warm enough, just set it on "low".  Now comes the waiting... I usually start my stock after dinner one night and strain it off after dinner the next night.  That way, it is "gurgling" for about 24 hours.  You can stop yours anywhere between 12 and 24 hours.  The longer it cooks, the stronger the flavors will be!

When you strain off your stock, place the liquid into cold storage overnight.  I placed mine in our sun room because it got down in the 20's last night!  And the above picture is what I found this morning- a beautiful layer of congealed fat on top of a wonderfully-gelled stock!  

You can discard this layer of fat or keep all or part of it in your stock.  I like keeping at least half of it, since it is not nearly as greasy as beef stock fat.  This stock goes into my 2-cup containers and then I pop them in the freezer!  This time, my son is begging for chicken and dumplings, so I can't put it all away :)

Have a wonderful Christmas holiday and may all your stocks gel!  Enjoy!

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