Sunday, January 1, 2012

Homemade Chicken Stock

I love to buy whole chickens at the St. Paul Farmer's Market and from my parents' good friend who grows delicious, giant free range chickens, but I'm less inclined to cook them for just two adults. So when we had another couple over for dinner and New Year's festivities last night, I was excited to bust out a frozen young chicken.

I was inspired to save the leftover bones and skins to make my first chicken stock after reading about how much healthier it is than store-bought broth or the bouillon cubes I typically use when a recipe calls for chicken broth.

By cooking my own stock, I was guaranteed a healthy, organic, free range broth that didn't require an extra trip to the food co-op.

Here's what I did:

Stick the whole carcass in the crock pot. Stick in a celery stalk cut into slices, a handful of baby carrots, a small onion quartered, and a clove of garlic. Season with spices as you wish. I included 5 sprigs of thyme (which I have growing in a pot after plucking the plant from my garden-I can't believe it's still alive!), a bay leaf, some dried parsley, and a dash of course grind black pepper. Cover the whole shebang with water-I used about 6 cups.

I cooked on high for about 7 hours, and it wasn't tasting like much more than gross water, so I turned it down to low and cooked another 3 hours. Much better!

Strain the whole thing and stick it in the fridge. Tomorrow, I'll skim the fat off the top and voila! Chicken broth for the chicken soup I'm sure I'll be making soon, inspired by the recent snow!

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