How to Make Chicken Stock in a Crockpot
Making chicken stock is one of those basic kitchen skills everyone needs to have. Little else is as soothing to a cold, flu, or upset stomach. It is the base for many comfort foods like chicken soup, Portuguese kale soup, chicken pot pie, and so many more.
Commercially prepared chicken broth is nothing at all like homemade. Commercially prepared broth is little more than water, MSG, and coloring. It is lacking all of the healing gelatin, glucosamine, and minerals we need for healthy guts, joints, hair, nail, and immune systems.
Making your own chicken stock is also a ridiculously frugal way to maintain health, flavor a dish, and stock up the pantry with beneficial bone broth. Bone broth is any liquid made from simmering the bones of an animal. You could prepared beef, pork, fish, rabbit, goat, or venison bones in the exact same way as this. It takes me about 1-2 weeks to save up enough beef bones to make a beef stock. Often I put beef and pork bones in the same pot.
I make chicken stock, or bone broth, every week. I start with my Upside-Down Roast Chicken. Once the carcass has been picked clean, I put it in my crockpot, along with all the juices that collected at the bottom of my roasting pan. I also add the contents of the giblet bag, 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar (to extract the calcium from the bones), plus sea salt, pepper, celery seed, nettle seed (excellent for the kidneys), astragalus root (adaptogenic and immune supporting herb), and garlic cloves. Then I cover the entire thing with water, set on low, then I forget about it for a day.
Here is the beginning of the broth before I added the seasonings.
Over the 24 (or so) hours that I go about my business and totally ignore this crockpot, the chicken stock will begin to take on a beautiful, rich color and aroma. After approximately 24 hours, I strain the carcass and other bits out, and reserve the liquid. The chicken stock is ready for use as is, or you can refrigerate it. This will cause the fat to separate and rise, making it easy to lift off. Personally, I leave the fat in if I’m making soup.
And that carcass? It goes right back into that crockpot for round two! I put it in, add more of the seasonings, cover with water, and let it go for another 24 hours. This batch will have less gelatin and less fat. I do one of two things with this broth- can it or dehydrate it. FYI, that was a hint at future posts. 🙂
This first batch, however, was destined for soup. My grandmother’s Portuguese Kale Soup was different than a lot of the recipes with a lot of beans. My version of her version includes carrots and lots of chourico, and less potatoes. The color of the broth changes from yellow to a dark reddish brown because of the chourico. If you want to make this soup (and why wouldn’t you?), you can check out the recipe here.
You could do this on the stove top. However, it is the end of June, it’s hot, and a crockpot won’t heat up the kitchen. I use two crockpots all summer long. One is strictly for stock, and the other is the either making dinner, making an infused herbal oil, or making spare meals for food storage. I have several slowcookers, both the Crockpot brand and a few others. By far, this is my favorite.
Ready to make some chicken stock of your own? Print off the recipe below!