Chicken Stock in Crock Pot
- gansu girl Sep 28, 2008 06:12 AM
OK, I'll admit it. I'm a stock novice. I haven't made it on the stove b/c it takes too long. But lately I've been reading about making it in the Crock Pot. My kid is HEAVY into Campbell's soup right now, and it's freaking me out . . . would like to make my own chicken stock w/fun noodles and real chicken and save her from all that salt, BPA, artificial color, etc. etc.
I've searched the board and found some posts, but it seems folks are using leftover bones from roasted chicken. I also understand that people think that using cooked bones can add flavor complexity - but I do not often have cooked bones around, and I'm not sure how much my Campbell's-lovin' kindergartener will appreciate the complexity anyway!
Can I just stick some RAW chicken parts in there, fill the pot w/water, add some seasonings and veggies and let 'er rip for 12 hours or so?
Your idea is fine. I have never liked the notion (or even the smell) of using dry old bones from the freezer. I use a pressure cooker to save time, but I have used the crock pot overnight, with good results. Two suggestions: cram those chicken parts into the pot densely, and then fill with water to the top of the chicken and vegs, lightly salted; add 1/2 pig's foot to increase the gel content. You'll get a rich stock for soup and sauces, and you can probably get some shredded meat from the parts.
My main source for chicken parts (backs and necks) is an Asian market where they are fresh and inexpensive.
One-half pig's foot is about 8 ounces. This works well for a yield of 4 qt or 1 gal. stock. so 1/2 pound chicken feet should be OK, but if there is more, it will be slightly richer. I haven't had this but my Mennonite relatives say chicken feet and lots of fresh savory makes the best soup!
I do it all the time now. Often with bones left over from de-boning chicken breasts, but sometimes with fresh chicken parts when they're on sale. When drumsticks are cheap, I'll pick up a bunch, throw them in the crock pot with carrots, an onion or leek, parsley, celery, a garlic clove or two, a spoonful of peppercorns and just a touch of salt. Add water to cover generously and switch the cooker to high. Cook for a couple of hours, then turn down to low and let it go for 8 to 10 hours. I'll often start the stock after dinner and let it cook overnight.
In the morning, strain the broth, discard the solids (or feed to dog/cat/husband) and chill so that you can easily remove the fat. I prefer to leave skin on the chicken when I do this because I think it adds flavour, but it does also add plenty of fat so you have to get rid of it.
Once you have your de-fatted stock, add fresh carrots, celery, noodles and whatever else you like and you have the best, easiest, cheapest, healthiest chicken soup possible. If you're trying to wean your kid off canned stuff, make sure that you use plenty of chicken when making the stock so that the flavour isn't wishy-washy. Also more salt than you think is healthy - you can reduce this as your child gets accustomed to the more natural flavours of real soup. But at first she/he may find it lacks punch because the canned stuff is full of flavour-enhancers.
I go to the Asian market near me and they have bags of chicken or beef bones for making stock. For chicken I use raw but for beef I brown them in the oven first. The crock pot sounds like a good idea, but we threw ours out a year or so ago as we never seemed to use it & it took up valuable space.
I started making chicken stock in my crock pot about a year ago after reading about it on this board. It really is the easiest, most foolproof way of getting lovely, clear stock. Yes, you can use raw chicken parts with no problem. However, if you want a deeper color, you can always toss all your chicken parts into a 450 degree oven for a bit to roast 'em up before dropping them into your crock pot. The veggies can be roasted, too, if you'd like. And Nyleve is so right about the sodium content of pre-made broths/soups. Your son may find your homemade soup "bland" at first, so definitely make sure you salt your soup sufficiently. Trust me, regardless of how much salt you add yourself, it will still be significantly less sodium than a can of Campbell's soup! BTW, I tend to add salt after making the stock, rather than adding salt to the crock pot mixture. I find it easier to control the final taste that way.
Good suggestions. Something I did for my soup lover kid was make a batch of noodles boiled in salted water and keep them in a zip lock bag or container. They will last several days. Leave them a bit wet before storing and they won't stick too much. The stock/broth should be made ahead of time so you can de-fat it properly. Chicken can be pre-poached and shredded. Then your "instant chicken soup" is simply a matter of heating the stock/broth (maybe have to de-frost first if you are storing quantity), simmer some carrots in it, adjust seasoning, and toss in noodles and chicken meat to heat through before serving. A steaming bowl in barely more than it takes to open the can and heat. You may have to play with the seasoning to get it to your child's liking. Mine liked it with a bit of Maggi powder (I know) and asked for his own pepper grinder.