Chicken stock lends a robust flavor to all kinds of soups, and can be made inexpensively using the left-over carcass from a roast chicken. Many chicken stock recipes involve simmering a whole chicken, but growing up in Ireland we always used left-over “skeletons” for our stocks.
“Waste not, want not” was the motto of my childhood days, and no chicken carcass was cast into the rubbish bin before it yielded the nutritional goodness buried within its bones.
When I was young, stock simmering was done on the stove top in a large pot. Since coming to America I’ve discovered the wonders of a crock pot for creating delicious stock, and for cooking soups and stews.
When stock is slowly simmering over an open flame or electric burner, I never feel safe leaving the house. One of the glories of a crock pot is the ability to set it and forget it.
My roast chicken left overs spend a day in my crock pot before finally being discarded.
And so, to kick off my soup making recipe season, I thought the best place to start is with a good basic chicken stock.
Here’s my recipe for slow cooker chicken stock.
- 1 large chicken carcass
- 1 onion cut in quarters
- 2 carrots cut in 2 inch chunks
- 1 celery stick, sliced
- 10 black peppercorns
- 6 to 8 parsley stalks
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 cups cold water
- pinch of salt
- Place all the ingredients into the bowl of a large slow cooker. I use a 5-quart size. Make sure the water level is at least 1/2″ below the top of the bowl.
- Set the crock pot on low. It will slowly heat. Allow the stock to simmer for 8 to 10 hours. If the liquid level goes down as the stock cooks, top it up with more water after 4 hours of cooking.
- Turn the heat off and allow the stock to cool slightly before passing it through a fine strainer. I remove the larger bones and vegetable pieces before straining the stock. Discard the left-over vegetables and chicken bones.
- Refrigerate the stock for up to 3 to 4 days before using or freeze it for up to 3 months.
And there you have it – simple, easy-to-make, budget-friendly chicken stock using this girl’s best kitchen friend, her crock pot.
As I share more and more of my soup recipes in the coming months, I’ll link back to this basic recipe whenever I recommend chicken stock for a particular soup.