In keeping with the season, chicken stock is easy to make. With chicken being a source of protein and reducing fat, this cuts down on your animal’s environmental footprint. Also, when buying chicken at the grocery store, look for the whole chicken as it is safer than removing the legs. If you’re worried about getting the meat too salty, add lemon juice to its water. Season to taste with salt and pepper, being sure to use a salt coupon or use a cheap table salt, which has no additives.
First, place chicken pieces in a large stockpot with about 3 inches of space above (an 8-quart pot will do). Add enough water to cover the chicken by an inch (about 3 cups). Bring to a boil, then add vegetables, bay leaves, and herbs. Reduce heat to a bare simmer and add chicken stock recipe ingredients. Cover, adjust the valve to low, and simmer for about an hour or so. Check and see if the liquid has thickened (it should).
To the same pot, you put the chicken stock recipe, add your vegetable bones and seasonings. Bring to another boil and add your salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for an additional hour. Once the ingredients are thoroughly cooked, remove the pot from the heat and strain it into a strainer or bowl. The stock will settle at the bottom, and the flavor will be dispersed through the broth.
It’s now time to use your crockpot. Add your onions and potatoes and turn on low. Allow the mixture to come to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. When it’s nearly done, add the stock, cranberries, raisins, peaches or apple cider vinegar, and tomatoes, and allow it to simmer for three to four hours, depending on your slow cooker.
A little tip for cooking with stock: use a food processor or blender to liquefy the solids and then puree them with an immersion blender. This helps give the stock a smooth consistency and more flavor. It also helps to thicken it, which is what we want. Transfer the blended elements to your crockpot. Add your onions, carrots, potatoes, peppers, and spices, and cook on low for about 2 hours, or until the flavors have melded together.
If you are making a stew or soup, here’s what I like to do: After draining the solids, I add a can of whole grain mustard, two tablespoons of dried thyme, and two cups of chicken stock. If you are using carrots and sweet potatoes in your mix, you can cut up one-fourth of a cup into chunks and add them at the end. If you have celery, cut up another fourth of a cup into pieces, and then chop up another fourth of a cup into chunks. I let the mixture cook on low for about an hour and then remove it from the crockpot. I pureed the veggies, adding them to my stew.
If you’re an actual meat and potatoes person, you’ll love this chicken stock recipe. I take my slow cooker out, add some onions, carrots, and potatoes (white, green, and yellow), a can of tomato sauce, and a cup of molasses, and simmer on medium heat. When it starts to simmer, I add the gelatin and let it dissolve in the mixture. Then, it’s ready to serve!
To clarify: if you are making a stew or soup, add all of the ingredients, allow the chicken stock to simmer, then add the gelatin solution, wait until the liquid has dissolved, and pureed the veggies in the pot. For a chicken stock recipe with chicken feet, only add the chicken feet and let the mixture simmer on low. Remove the chicken feet when it’s almost done. Pureed the vegetable, added it to my chili, and served that on top of the chicken feet with sour cream and pepper mix. Delicious!