Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Homemade Chicken Broth in the Slow Cooker

Ever roast a chicken or turkey?  Don't throw away that poultry carcass!  (Isn't the word "carcass" lovely?)  The rich, roasted flavor that roasting provides makes a delicious homemade broth when cooked with aromatics like onions, celery, and carrots.  To make this super-easy, I cook it in the crockpot overnight after having roast turkey or chicken for dinner. 

You can make it with any kind of chicken bones- try grilling bone-in chicken pieces and using the leftover bones from that!  Seriously, this recipe is so easy and makes delicious broth.  I use broth a lot, so it's also a money-save for me.  I dump the carcass and any leftover juices in my big crockpot, then add the aromatics mentioned above, plus some other things, and fill up the crockpot with water.  You'll wake up to a chicken-broth smell in the morning, which always kind of throws me off, but it's worth it for this broth.  In the morning, just strain, cool, and divide into containers, discarding everything but the golden broth.  If not using right away (like within 2 days), this freezes very well. 

Here are some recipes to use this in: 
Noodle Rice Pilaf
Chicken & Dumplings
Rice with Herbes de Provence
Orzo w/Parmesan & Basil
Broccoli-Cheddar Soup
Linguine w/Bacon, Basil, Tomatoes & Cream

There are so many more recipes on here, but I got tired of typing them all out.  You can search "chicken broth" to find more.  So many of the soups I make contain chicken broth, so there are a lot of ways to use chicken broth there alone (click on my "Soup" tag on the lower right-hand side).  Also, if you want to make this and don't want to roast a chicken, you can use regular bone-in chicken pieces, like this recipe here.  That way, you'll have some leftover meat to use, as well.  (Just know I've never made this with meaty chicken pieces before.... only with carcasses.  So, the meat may be dried out if cooked in the crockpot overnight.  But, it could be just fine, too). 
Homemade Chicken Broth in the Slow Cooker
heavily adapted from Allrecipes

1 chicken or turkey carcass
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, quartered
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
2-3 bay leaves
sea salt, to taste (add about 1/2 tsp. at the beginning; taste and add more after cooking)
1 tablespoon dried basil or other dried herbs of choice
water, to cover (anywhere from 6-10 cups, depending on how large your slow cooker is)

1.  Combine everything in the slow cooker except water.  Add water until crockpot is as full as you want it (I fill up to about an inch below the top).  Cover, and cook on low 8-10 hours. 

2.  Let cool slightly, and strain through a strainer, lined with cheesecloth if desired (I just strain without the cheesecloth).  If desired, at this point, you can refrigerate the whole batch until the fat floats to the top, and skim that off.  I didn't want to wait that long last time, so I just froze it, fat and all.  You can always scrape it off when you use it. 

3.  Divide into individual containers, one to two cups each (or around 15 oz, the size of a can of chicken broth).  Refrigerate or freeze.  If not using within about two days, freeze containers. 
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1 comment:

chicklegirl said...

I always do this, too! One of my tricks (which you might already use) is to freeze the broth in ice cube trays and then put the cubes in big Ziploc freezer bags. Then I can use them for months and months without freezer burn.