Friday, June 6, 2014

Easy Homemade Chicken Stock Using a Rotisserie Chicken and a Crock Pot

Rotisserie chickens are such a convenience. To justify the expense, I can usually stretch one bird for two meals. After the initial meal, I love picking the bones clean and using the chopped meat for enchiladas, arroz con pollo, chicken fried rice, etc. But it's not over there. Why would I throw out the bones? That's a waste of money and flavor since I can make an incredibly easy and tasty stock by tossing the carcass into my crock pot with some veggies.

I used to freeze the bones if I didn't have time to make stock right away. Babysitting a simmering pot on the stove for several hours was definitely a weekend job. Now that I use my crock pot, this is an overnight, on any night, kind of job. The slow cooker does all the work while I sleep. Pretty nice, right?

Easy Homemade Chicken Stock

Yield: approximately 2 quarts

Prep Time: 10 minutes; Cook Time: 8 hours

1 rotisserie chicken carcass
1 onion, quartered
2 carrots, washed and cut in half
2 celery stalks, washed and cut in half, preferably with the leaves still on
2 cloves of garlic
5 peppercorns
1 bay leaf

Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Cover with 8 cups of cool water. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. 

Skim any fat that appeared on the surface. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. [If you added any herbs, you might want to line it with cheesecloth first.] Discard the bones and vegetables. 

Use immediately or allow stock to cool before refrigerating. Use within 2-3 days or freeze for a longer storage option.

Ingredient Notes:
-This ingredient list is just the beginning -- a suggestion really. I sometimes add parsley and thyme if I have them on hand. Try adding other vegetables too, like leeks or shallots or parsnips; just avoid strong flavors like broccoli. 
-You can also make a respectable stock with just the chicken bones, onion, and garlic.
-Salt can also be added. Try 1 teaspoon as a starting place. 
-I thoroughly wash my veggies, but I don't peel them -- even the onions. It saves times and deepens the color of the stock. If this idea grosses you out, by all means, peel away!

Helpful Hints:
-I love freezing stock in ice cube trays and then transferring them to a big freezer bag. If you need a small amount of stock for something, the small portions makes defrosting the right amount a breeze. It also makes a great summer treat for your favorite dog. 
-Try freezing your extra carrots and celery. I wash them, cut them to the desired size, and then individually freeze them on cookie sheets. Once frozen, I transfer them to a freezer bag. Then, whenever I want to make stock, I can grab them from the freezer. It just makes stock making even easier. 

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