Saturday, March 07, 2009

Slow-Cooker Chicken Stock

I finally broke down and purchased a slow cooker that I had in my Amazon wish list for almost a year. It’s been close to a month since it arrived all shiny-new and stainless steel and, funny thing is, the only thing I’ve made so far is chicken stock – lots and lots of chicken stock. It’s become a joke now in our house that I’m stocking up on stock (you can never have too much homemade chicken stock). Making stock in a slow cooker cannot be any easier. And after doing some research online and reading up at Cook’s Illustrated, I determined that you don’t need a lot of ingredients to end up with a really flavorful, full-bodied stock. Throw some chicken (wings, backs and/or necks), an onion (with the skin, adds a nice golden-brown color), garlic, salt and bay leaves in a slow cooker, set it to cook and forget about it. Eight hours later (or four hours on high), you’ve got yourself three quarts of homemade stock that you can use within a week or freeze for up to three months.

For safety reasons, it’s always a good idea to cool down soups, stocks or stews before transferring them to the refrigerator. Putting hot-off-the-stove foods directly into the refrigerator can increase the interior temperature to more than 50 degrees – which is unsafe for all of the food inside. You can let the food cool down on the countertop for an hour and then transfer to the refrigerator. Or, you can cool it down more quickly with a cooling paddle. A Rapi-Kool Food Chiller, or cooling paddle, cool sauces, soups, stews, and other hot foods quickly and easily. It allows you to insert a shaft of cold directly into the core of the food. You can find cooling paddles at restaurant supply stores online such as Ace Mart, item number KATRCU-64.

Click here to download and print a pdf of this recipe:

Slow-Cooker Chicken Stock


Suzee said...

You have to try pot roast in your slow cooker - a boneless chuck, with a cup or so of red wine (whatever you like) and a packet of onion soup mix. Mix the wine and the soup mix before you put it around the sides of the roast in the cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours and you will be blessed with melt in your mouth beefy goodness :)

Caviar and Codfish said...

I'm really tempted to buy one, except I don't want another thing in the kitchen. But stove-top chicken stock is beginning to wear me out. Do you notice any difference between slow-cooker and stove-top (I'm sure they are exactly the same, but you never know.)

Love your site, by the way. : )

Genevieve said...

I'm a broth fiend! What kind of crock pot do you have? I'm nervous because many have lead in them! I love taking my homemade broth and blending it with cooked veggies. It turns into a rich, thick, and comforting soup! Some great tips I learned: Soak bones in cold water with some acid liquid (like acv or lemons) for 1 hour before you cook. This greatly increases the mineral content of your broth. I also cook my beef broths for up to 3 days and chicken for 2 days! The longer you cook, the more flavorful and nutrient dense your results will be. I also don't skim off all of the fat as it adds a richness and some more vitamins to the mix.


J.Noelle said...

I personally think that the broth from the stovetop and from a slow cooker taste pretty much the same. The upside to the slow cooker is it's so easy to just set it and go about your day; eight hours later you have broth! You can probably do the same technique in an oven set to a low temp - like 200 or 225 degrees - place all the ingredients in a dutch oven and let it simmer unattended.

Genevieve - I have the All-Clad 6.5qt Slow Cooker. From what I could find out online, I believe that the glaze on All-Clad models is lead free, but that's an interesting note. I had not heard that before you mentioned it.

Anonymous said...

Simmering for eight hours is about the limit for the best taste. After eight hours all the meat and connective tissue has broken down and given up all their nutrients and flavor, but after that the bones start breaking down, which makes the broth chalky tasting.

Cooking it on high usually means boiling, which is not a good thing for stock or soup, beyond a quick boil at the beginning to make sure it gets hot enough for safety.

I'm not sure, but I think it was an article by Shirley Corriher where I learned the 8 hour limit, but I've read similar findings from other cooking science type sources.

For me cooking really changed and became interesting more than frustrating when I started learning the science behind the rules, and realized the most rules were somewhat failed attempts to communicate what some people just seem to know intuitively about the science of what makes things yummy.

Rumela said...

Wow! This chicken stock looks so Scrumptious with the colors, I'm sure it'll be a big hit with the foodies! Although I'm to a big fan of chicken stock, this sure looks yummy! I'm normally the one that will say no to chicken stock.