We used to be really intimidated by the idea of making our own chicken or turkey stock. The want was always there, but the thought of babysitting the stove for an entire day and watching our stock bubble just the way we'd like it to made it all the less appealing.
Instead we chose to take a simpler route for our maiden journey into stock making last year by using a Crockpot and it could not have been more easy -- with no babysitting necessary!
Possibly the only electronic that we feel comfortable leaving 'home alone' and to its own devices, our trusty Crockpot is definitely a must-have kitchen appliance for many of our meals. Not only can you make homemade stock in the Crockpot year-round without dying from heat exhaustion in the middle of July, but anyone can do it--no matter what your previous skills in the kitchen are. If you can chop up some veggies and turn it on, you're already an expert!
We chose to put the turkey carcass in the Crockpot mainly on a whim; we had no recipe to go off of and we weren't exactly sure if it would work the same or not. But with about three pounds of leftover turkey in the fridge, we weren't too worried about if it failed.
Luckily though, the stock turned out fantastic; rich and thick, and unlike any flavors bought from the store. Plus, homemade stock is essentialy calorie- and sodium-free (depending on what you throw in), and you don't have to worry about any unwanted additives, which we love!
If like us, you choose to freeze the stock for later use we would recommend putting it into different sized portions so that it will be easliy accessible when needed. And if you're using bones or a carcass that you have previously frozen, just remember to thaw everything under cold water before throwing it in. From our experience, as long as you're adding in all ingredients that you already like, the whole thing is pretty foolproof. You may even just find yourself never wanting to make stock on the stove top again.
Chicken or Turkey Stock in the Crockpot:
- Turkey/chicken carcass and leftover bones
- Fresh herbs, either whole or wrapped in a bundle (thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano)
- Carrots, roughly chopped
- Onion, roughly chopped
- Celery, roughly chopped
- Garlic cloves
- Seasoning of your choice
- Enough water to fill slightly below the top of the Crockpot
- 1 cup of white wine
Put all ingredients into your slow cooker. Cover with cold water* slightly below the brim so that if for any reason it boils you won't have a mess on your hands. Slow cook on high for at least 5-6 hours, or on low for anywhere from 8-24 hours (we did ours on low for 12).
Once the stock is finished cooking, let it cool. Skim off the fat if needed. Remove the carcass or bones. Strain the broth well. Season if needed. Store in your fridge for up to five days, or freeze for later use.
*You must use cold water when beginning as it will make your stock clearer in the end.