Oh the unsung glories of homemade chicken stock!
When I was in culinary school, one of my absolute favorite classes was Saucier. Soups, sauces, and stocks! All day long, for three weeks, we talked and touched chicken, beef & veal bones, demi glaces, mother sauces, consumme and chowder. Learning the finer art of preparing all of these and more boiled down to (pun intended) one essential ingredient: a good stock. Here in our primal-eating cave, I use chicken stock as a base for soups, sauces, in braises, stews, and also as a healthy beverage or snack.
But why make your own stock when you can go out and buy a can or carton? Why not save yourself some time, trouble & effort? Well, other than it really doesn’t take that much time at all (I make mine in my CrockPot these days), it makes excellent use of the leftover bones from Sunday’s roast bird, homemade bone broths are superior in taste, texture, and nutritional value. Rather than re-writing the wheel, let me send you over to one of my favorite blogs, Nourished Kitchen. There you will find a brief, comprehensive article on the benefits of making your own bone broth. You will also find a very good how-to at Naturally Knocked Up, complete with step-by-step photos (which is wonderful, because I don’t have any shots of the process myself.) And just because I think it’s a great article, complete with great recipes, follow this link to Sally Fallon’s article on why Broth is Beautiful.
Homemade Chicken Stock a la CrockPot
- chicken bones (the carcass of one roasting hen, or the equivalent in legs, thighs, and backbone – the joints are especially good for this sort of thing!) *Note: for a true bone stock, all meat should be removed from the bones. Meat adds depth of flavor, and an increase in nutritional value; technically speaking, however, the liquid then becomes a broth.
- 2 bay leaves
- 6-8 cloves garlic (I prefer roasted cloves)
- 4 carrots, in chunks
- 2 celery stalks (no leaves!), in chunks
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (apple cider is best)
- a few sprigs of herbs (my favorites are thyme, rosemary, or marjoram)
- Place all the ingredients in the CrockPot.
- Cover with cold water.
- Cover with lid, bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for at least eight hours, as long as 1 day, removing the scum as it forms on top.
- Strain, and pour into jars.
- Allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until use.