There's something so satisfying about making your own chicken stock, and doing it in the slow cooker is a total set-it-and-forget-it exercise. Use it in soups and risotto, sip it from a mug, freeze it for future use—the possibilities are endless.
- 1 chicken carcass (from a cooked 4-pound chicken)
- 2 stalks celery, cut in half
- 1 carrot, scrubbed clean and ends trimmed, cut in half
- 1 medium onion, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- Large handful parsley stems, large enough that the stems bundled together are the size of a quarter
- 4 to 5 large sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 6 cups water
1 Set up your slow cooker: Plug in your slow cooker and set it to low.
2 Prepare the chicken carcass: Pull any meat from the carcass and save it for another meal. Discard the skin.
Then get medieval on those bones. Snap what can be snapped. Take out all of the day’s frustrations on those bones and then toss them in the slow cooker. Ligaments are fine. The weird dark stuff is fine. A few bits of skin are fine. Just throw it in.
3 Add the remaining ingredients: Add everything else, including the water, to the slow cooker. You can even keep the skins on the garlic and onions—the stock will just be a darker color as a result of the pigments in the skins.
4 Cook the stock slow and low: Put the lid on the slow cooker and leave the slow cooker on low overnight. Cook for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.
5 Strain the stock: When you're done cooking, shut off the slow cooker and remove the lid. Set a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth over a bowl. Scoop out the solids and put them in the strainer. When they stop dripping, remove them from the strainer and discard.
Pour the rest of the stock through the strainer. You may see some sediment in the stock. That’s ok. You can strain the liquid again through multiple layers of cheesecloth, or you can leave it. Again, it’s purely aesthetics.
6 Cool your stock: Let the stock cool to room temperature, then transfer to storage containers and refrigerate overnight.
7 Scrape off the chicken fat: The next day you should see a creamy fat layer on top of the stock. Skim it off and toss it.
The stock will be gelatinous and golden. That means you did a good job and your stock will have a velvety mouth feel.
8 Use or freeze the stock: Stock can be stored in the fridge for about 5 days, or frozen for up to a year. When you use the stock, pour slowly and any sediment will stay put in the bottom of your container.