My lovely husband and children bought me a slow cooker for Mother's Day - probably 10 years ago. A gift of any kitchen appliance works well for me and I had been pondering about this one for a while.
That Mother's Day was a memorable one for a number of reasons ...
- Steve had bought all the ingredients to have dinner from the slow cooker ready for us on our return from a day out. A perfect Mother's Day treat.
- We drove to the coast for a bracing walk on a wide, empty beach but sadly the English weather misbehaved and by the time we reached our destination the colour of the sky did not bode well.
- Fast forward a couple of hours - we are back at the car, all as wet, wet, wet as it's possible to be having been pelted with hailstones and thrown around the beach by torrential wind and rain.
- It wasn't the mood board we had hoped for but, hey, it was a memorable day - especially the bit where the children and I stripped down to our pants for the journey home - when your children are 3 and 5 it is the funniest thing in the world ever when your Mummy does it too!
- Dinner from the slow cooker when we arrived back home was oh so welcome. It was not a 'blinder' of a meal and I have to come clean and admit that I have had a limited number of 'blinders' courtesy of the slow cooker over the years. It's always no fuss - but it's only rarely gorgeous....
Until, that is, I discovered making chicken stock in the slow cooker.
I have always loved the idea of making my own chicken stock. But why did I not actually do it more often? The thought of zero waste from a roast chicken was attractive and I would often dutifully pick the carcass clean and chill it away ready to perform stock magic. But how often did that actually translate into making it into stock? Not often. This was mostly because the time was just never right; I was too busy with other things and the thought of needing to be by the stove for a good few hours while the cauldron bubbled away was unattractive. And then there was the smell too .... when I cooked stock on the hob, the smell would somehow creep into every corner of the house. Unpleasant.
But what if I could make the stock whenever I wanted to? What if I could store the carcasses until the mood was just right and what if I could have all the slow boiling done quietly and discreetly while I was having a good night's sleep?
What do you need to make this happen?
- 1 large resealable freezer bag
- 1 freezer with enough space to stash your chicken carcasses
- 1 slow cooker
- 1 onion
- a few peppercorns
- And finally, some water from the tap
You could also add the tough stalks of some fresh herbs, maybe a carrot or two - but only if you have them.
And how do you make this as easy as possible?
- Gather bones and carcasses from all your roasted chickens - even from the ready cooked birds that you may pick up from the supermarket (confession ... this is what I use the most).
- Start off a large, resealable freezer bag and keep adding your bones and carcasses to it in the freezer every time you have some more. Do make sure the new ones are completely cold before they join the frozen ones.
- When you have enough to loosely fill your slow cooker, defrost them and tip them into the bowl with a halved onion and a few peppercorns. Cover with cold water.
- Turn the slow cooker to LOW and leave to simmer overnight. No precise timing required.
- In the morning drain the stock in a colander and allow it to cool before storing it in your containers of choice. I use old margarine containers or (if my freezer is very full, I freeze in plastic bags so that they take up less space - see photo below as an example) and I then freeze the stock until I'm ready to use it.
Making chicken stock is good for the soul and when it's as easy as this it's even better. Use your stock to make soup, risotto or just load up on the smug factor and save it in the freezer until you are in the mood to create something delicious.Print