The health benefits of making your own chicken stock are impressive. Homemade stock is full of easily absorbable vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus that are hard to find in other foods. When you make your own stock you get the bonus of a magic little nutrient called gelatin. The natural gelatin that results from the cooking process helps improve digestion by healing damage to the gut and intestines in ways that other foods can’t. When the gut is in good working order it means that your body can more easily absorb vitamins and minerals from all the other foods you eat as well. Homemade chicken stock also supplies healthy amino acids that help detoxify the body. And one more reason to love chicken stock, it can improve joint pain by suppling the body with natural collagen and glucosamine chondroitin. You just can’t beat the nutrition found in chicken stock. No wonder it’s the food of choice when you’re feeling under the weather.
This is the perfect time of year to start making your own stock. It’s essential for homemade soups, but I like to add it to so many other dishes too. I put anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup of chicken stock to spaghetti sauce, chili, enchiladas – you name it. I try to make sure we get at least one serving of stock per week. Not only does it add all that nutrition, but it adds great flavor too.
To get the most from your stock you need to cook it for a long time over low heat. That makes it a perfect candidate for the slow cooker. Just throw the ingredients in and walk away. It really is that easy. As for the vegetables I use for stock, they’re mostly just whatever I have on hand. Whenever I have fresh carrots or onions that are about to go bad I put them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer until I’m ready to make some stock. This particular batch of chicken stock used carrots, onions, and the stems from the kale I had sauteed for dinner that night.
|veggies for the stock|
|simmering in the slow cooker|
|Ready for the freezer|
Homemade Chicken Stock
makes about 6 quarts
Leftover Chicken bones from one whole roast chicken**
6-7 quarts of water
4 cloves garlic, whole
about 2 cups of vegetables such as carrots, onions, celery, kale, spinach
1 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
Place chicken bones in the slow cooker and cover with water. Cover with lid and set on low for 8 hours. I do this before going to bed at night. Leave the slow cooker on “warm” for another 6-8 hours. (This will make a total of 16 hours of cooking.) Add the vegetables durning the last hour of cooking and cover. Turn off the slow cooker and let the stock cool until it can be easily handled. Remove and discard large pieces of bones and vegetables. Strain remaining stock through a fine mesh sieve to remove smaller pieces. Divide into freezable containers and freeze until ready to use.
**I also save the bones from rotisserie chicken, chicken wings, chicken thighs – any chicken bones will work. If you don’t have enough bones left at the end of a meal just place them into a freezer bag and freeze until ready to make your stock.
You may also like: