I was recently reading a really great book titled Not Your Mother's Slow-Cooker Cookbook by Beth Hensperger and I was intrigued by her recipe for slow-cooked chicken stock. She offers two different recipes in her book (pp. 95 and 96) and I formed a new one that consisted of parts of those two, plus a few differences that I like in chicken stock.
I was interested in her recipes because I had been hoping to find an easier way to make chicken stock that wouldn't involve adding back the humidity by boiling a big pot on the stove that we're trying to take out of the house with the central air running. Plus, I was thinking it would be nice not to have to keep adding water -- to just be able to put the chicken carcass and the rest of the ingredients in the slow-cooker and forget about them for many hours.
So this is what I came up with, although I highly recommend Beth Hersperger's book. She has what seems like some good, solid, family-friendly recipes in Not Your Mother's Slow-Cooker Cookbook (Meatballs in Tomato-Wine Sauce; Honey and Apple Bread Pudding with Golden Raisins) that sound really delicious.
Chicken Stock in the Slow-Cooker
This recipe is meant for a large round or oval slow-cooker. It should cook on high for one hour and then be turned down to low for 8-10 hours.
2 medium-sized sweet onions, cut in chunks
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
3 large ribs celery with leaves, washed and chopped
1 meaty chicken carcass, including skin and cooking liquid
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
4 "grinds" of fresh black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
Enough cold water to cover the chicken carcass
Place all ingredients in the slow-cooker and cover chicken carcass with the cold water. Turn the cooker on high and allow to heat everything until hot, an hour or so.
At the end of that hour, skim off any foam with a spoon. Return the cover to the slow-cooker; turn the heat setting down to low. Cook for 8-10 hours. If, during the cooking time, the water level cooks below the ingredients, add enough boiling water to the slow-cooker to bring it up to cover the ingredients again.
When the stock is fully cooked, line a large colander with cheesecloth and strain the broth into a clean pot. Press the vegetables to make sure all juices have been squeezed out. Discard bones, skin, herbs and vegetables. Season with salt if you'd like. Immediately refrigerate the stock.
You can either use this stock immediately, keep it tightly covered in the fridge for 2-3 days or divide it up into several freezer containers and save for later use.
This recipe makes about 3 quarts of stock.
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