Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Homemade Crockpot Chicken Stock

You may have noticed that many of my recent posts have been making a lot of things from scratch. See e.g. homemade pizza dough, this soup, and this soup, and sadly this attempt at roast chicken. For the past few months, upon the advice of my doctor, I have been watching my sodium intake. One of the ways I can control how much sodium I consume is by making foods from scratch and relying less on convenience foods. Plus it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I make something all by myself. And then there are also collateral reasons that might encourage some people to make their own food, such as being better for the environment, and the feeling of security by knowing exactly what is in your food.

So aside from my endeavor to make “grown-up” food when I attempted roast chicken, I had plans to make chicken stock from the leftover carcass. When I made the chicken, I deliberately only used a tiny pinch of salt, and relied on fresh herbs for flavor. Fresh herbs and aromatics are important when you can’t rely on salt to make food taste good. In this stock, I didn’t add any additional salt, but instead used fresh herbs, garlic cloves, and ginger. And personally, I think this stock tastes better than the stuff from the can. So all was not lost from my roast chicken disaster!

Homemade Crockpot Chicken Stock

Carcass of a roast chicken, and any leftover bones
1 onion, quartered
2 carrots, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
2 stalks of celery, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
1 inch of fresh ginger root, sliced into 2 half inch coins
3 peeled garlic cloves
10 peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1 Tbs of fresh poultry herbs, roughly chopped (rosemary, thyme, sage)
6 cups of filtered water (I read that it is better to use filtered water so that you don’t have chlorine and fluoride in your stock, but if that doesn't bother you, then go ahead and use tap)

Dump everything into the crockpot. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. Allow to cool. Discard solids and strain the stock. Refrigerate the stock for a few hours, (I put it in overnight). Strain again to separate the fat that has congealed on the top. Store the stock into freezer bags or ice trays. (What I do is I freeze some into an ice tray so that I have stock in neat little ice cubes, which I transferred to a freezer bag. This makes it easy to portion it out, especially when you only need a little for a sauce. )

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