Why is it, do you suppose, that homemade chicken stock seems to require far less effort and patience when left to burble in a slow cooker than when left to burble on the back burner? Perhaps because you can walk away from it—that is to say, you can walk away from it and not worry about the gas flame being too low and being extinguished by a breeze, or the flame being too high and causing the stock to boil raucously and turn cloudy. It’s not that making chicken stock from scratch is difficult. The slow cooker strategy simply ensures the stock burbles sleepily and remains clear as can be. And once you make homemade chicken stock in a slow cooker, chances are you’ll be so wooed by the ease with which it comes together, you won’t want to go back to making it any other way. [Editor’s Note: But in case you do, we’ve got the perfect Roast Chicken Stock recipe for you.)–Renee Schettler Rossi
LC Sly Stock Substitutions Note
A homemade chicken stock recipe isn’t hard to stumble upon. Just Google it and see for yourself. But a reliable homemade chicken stock recipe? That’s another matter entirely. Sure, you can certainly toss chicken (whether raw parts or the carcass of a roasted hen) and whatever vegetables and herbs you happen to have on hand in your slow cooker with some water and chances are it’s not going to be terrible, though it may not be as much to your liking as it could be. While we’re all for the spirit of experimentation, we prefer the proportions below. Still, if you’re brazen enough to veer from the formula in the recipe below, we’ve a few things you may wish to consider in terms of ingredients…
Leeks lend a milder allium experience than onions.
Celery imparts a rather clean, almost astringent note.
Carrots ensure sweetness.
Black peppercorns—just a few, mind you—lend depth of flavor and complexity.
Herbs, well, we think that’s sorta obvious.
Same goes for garlic.
Ginger imparts a warming sharpness that’s a boon to anything Asian, though best used sparely and only with other ingredients such as lemongrass or onion.
Just don’t rely on mere bones and water. Trust us. [Editor's Note: When we—and by "we," we really mean Renee—first made homemade chicken stock as a very young twenty-something straight out of college, she poured water over roasted bones and let the potion simmer for hours, assure that the gods of stockmaking would smile favorably upon this effort. They did not. Let it be a lesson to you. It certainly was to her, er, us.]
Slow Cooker Chicken Stock Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 12 H
- Makes about 2 quarts
- 2 pounds chicken wings, necks, backs, or other parts (raw parts or roasted carcasses)
- 4 smallish carrots, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1 leek, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 1 smallish onion, peeled or unpeeled, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 fresh bay leaf (optional)
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- Cold water
- 1. Place all of the ingredients in your slow cooker, add enough cold water to cover, and cook on low for at least 12 hours or overnight. You may need to skim the surface toward the beginning of cooking.
- 2. Strain and let cool completely. Freeze in 1- to 2-cup portions.
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Slow Cooker Chicken Stock Recipe © 2010 The Editors of Ryland Peters & Small. Photo © 2010 Ryland Peters & Small. All rights reserved.