So, in my ongoing efforts to become more culinarily self-reliant, I’ve taken to cooking whole chickens in the crockpot. This, it turns out, is cheaper than buying chicken parts when I need just regular chicken meat for a soup or salad or something. And it’s incredibly easy. I just rinse the chicken, pat it dry, and toss him in the pot. Then I cover him with salt, pepper, and whatever spices I feel like grabbing.
The best thing about this procedure, though, isn’t the large amount of cooked chicken I end up with. It’s the next part of the process, because now I’ve begun making my own chicken stock, too.
After we eat whatever of the freshly-cooked chicken we plan on, I bone the rest of the bird and then throw all the remaining parts of the carcass back into the pot (retaining all those wonderful juices that the bird itself exuded whilst crocking away for eight to ten hours). I’m talking skin, bone, fat, gristle, all of it. I cut up a couple of carrots, some celery, an onion, and a head of garlic; into the pot they go. Same with a quartered lemon. Then I cover the entire works with water, put the lid on, and crock the works on low for another twelve hours. The result?
In the words of Emeril Lagasse, ‘Oh yeah, babe.’
I use my Chinese strainer to remove all the big chunks of veggies, bone, fat, and assorted whatnot (if we lived someplace with a yard, I suppose this stuff could go in a compost pile, but we don’t, so into the trash with it).
Then I ladle the broth through a fine sieve to remove the tiny particles of stuff…
…and after that, I have a whole bunch of tasty, unsalted chicken stock. We’ve been portioning it into 8oz servings and freezing it. Having homemade stock on hand is a great feeling, and I’m already thinking of getting beef bones so I can make my own beef stock, too. I can certainly say that my days of using store-bought stocks or bouillon powder are over. Had I known it was this easy–!
the chicken looks delish
I just made my own beef stock for the first time this weekend. I learned how from my grandmother, but never tried it. We'll have noodle soup with the meat we used for that and part of the stock next weekend.
There is nothing better than cooking from scratch.
I'm a vegetarian and that looks good!
You can also just pour your stock right into clean ice cube trays and freeze it that way. Just break apart when frozen and toss into freezer bag. Now you can portion out whatever you want in cube form.