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.
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Slow-Cooker Chicken Stock