A slow cooker makes a pot of homemade chicken stock a breeze. Anytime you roast a chicken, or even chicken parts, save all the trimmings, bones and skin. Just put it all in the pot with some cut-up carrots, celery, onions and some herbs with enough water to cover completely to make a terrific stock to use for all sorts of cooking projects.
I had deliberately left out the salt. Slow cooking can concentrate the saltiness of the food, so use a light hand until the end, or close to the end, of the cooking. The stock was, of course, a bit bland. So, I added a half-teaspoon at a time of sea salt, stirring between doses and then tasting. You should always add salt or other seasonings in small amounts because you can always add more but can’t take it out.
Next, I added a couple splashes of red wine vinegar. “Vinegar in chicken stock?” I hear you saying. A little acid can work wonders on a dish. It somehow brings out flavors and brightens the taste. Just make sure you use a light touch.
Now, it’s ready to cool down. Then I’ll ladle the stock through my strainer and then transfer it to containers. Do NOT try to rescue the vegetables or any chunks of meat. They have given up all their flavor to the stock and will not only be mushy and overcooked, but tasteless.
For the freezer, I’ll use plastic containers, leaving a little space in the top to allow for freezer expansion. For the refrigerator, it’ll go into cleaned jars that seal well. A glass pasta sauce jar works well. I also like the plastic jars I get from a brand of canned mixed fruit I like.
This stock can now be used almost any place you’d use water for cooking, like rice, or as the basis for a rich and easy soup. This works really well with noodles. And the price is certainly right. I know a chicken stock from the store isn’t that expensive. But this stock uses parts of the chicken you might otherwise throw away, making it economical, and you know exactly what’s in it. No preservatives or chemicals you can’t pronounce. The frozen stock just needs to sit on the counter all day or in the refrigerator overnight.