The SNAP Challenge week 4 required me to purchase a rotisserie chicken from which I intended to prepare several meals.
Considering how useful rotisserie chickens are for such a wide variety of dishes, they are definitely one of the most awesome convenience items around.
From sandwiches to casseroles, salads, and soups, the meat can be used just about anywhere once it’s pulled off the bone.
The meat that remains after you have removed all the meat from the bones can also be used.
There is still plenty of flavor and nutrients packed into the bones, cartilage, fat, and bits of skin, so you can make a wonderful family-favorite chicken broth out of them.
I’ve made homemade chicken broth before using the stove top and it’s unbelievably easy.
Using a slow cooker can make it a little easier, so if you wish, you can go one step further.
There is nothing more simple than taking a chicken carcass, a couple of vegetables, a few herbs, and some water and cooking it.
Place everything into a slow cooker, turn it on, and you are done in a matter of minutes when you go back to find all the work has been done for you. What a great idea, isn’t it?
Because I was making chicken noodle soup later with celery, carrots, onions, and parsley, I had these ingredients on hand.
Instead of buying the whole vegetables, you can save your vegetable scraps throughout the month and use them to flavor the broth. This broth can be practically free if you save your vegetable scraps throughout the month.
When I talk about vegetable scraps, what do I mean by that? You can use onion and carrot peels, celery leaves, parsley stems, or anything you would normally remove from vegetables and dispose of afterwards, such as onion peels, carrot peels, and celery leaves.
There is no denying the importance of cleaning, however. It is extremely important that you avoid creating a sandy broth when you are making your broth, so always wash your scraps very well (or just wash the whole vegetable well before cutting it up) and don’t save anything that looks rotten or moldy.
It’s up to you how you want your broth to taste, but onions, carrots, and celery are the magic trio when it comes to cooking.
There is nothing wrong with garlic, but you want to go light on it so that it does not overpower the broth with too much flavor. In addition to cabbage, beets will naturally give the broth a reddish tint, and any cruciferous vegetable, such as broccoli or cauliflower, will cause it to smell sulfurous, so be careful not to use any other vegetables as they might change the color or cause odors.
There are plenty of herbs out there to choose from, but my favorite is parsley, bay leaf, and black pepper. This can be customized to your liking, too, so feel free to experiment to make it your own. (The addition of some thyme or rosemary could be nice).
I’m going to share with you the incredibly simple step by step instructions for making chicken broth in a slow cooker, so read on.
Making Chicken Broth in a Slow Cooker
Step One: Get yourself a chicken carcass. I used the leftover bits from the rotisserie chicken I bought at the grocery store for my recipe.
Step Two: A large slow cooker (I think mine is 5 or 7 quarts) needs the chicken carcass, vegetables, and herbs.
Besides one stalk of celery, two carrots, a handful of parsley, two bay leaves, some freshly cracked pepper, and dried onion flakes (because I had just one onion left and wanted to save it for the soup itself), I also used a handful of parsley, two bay leaves, some fresh cracked pepper, and some dried onion flakes.
Step Three: Add water. As you fill up your slow cooker to the top, which is about 10 cups of water, don’t worry if you can’t fit more than six cups in there, or if you can add up to 12.
There is no real rule for how much water you should add, so don’t worry if you can’t fit it all in.
You shouldn’t let these bones go to waste. There is a lot of flavor in them.
Step Four: It takes at least six hours to cook on high in a slow cooker.
Despite being short on time, I had to finish at 6 because I didn’t have much time, but the flavor is deeper if you let it cook longer.
The beauty of long, slow cooking is that all of that cartilage breaks down and gives the broth its body.
Step Five: The large pieces should be removed with a slotted spoon. Check to see if there is any meat left clinging to the bones, and if there is, you can take it out and save it.
I picked out those vegetables and saved them for my chicken soup because I had to cook mine for a relatively short amount of time.
Normally, if you cook vegetables for a long amount of time, they will nearly disintegrate into the broth, but I had to cook mine for a short amount of time, so I didn’t have those vegetables disintegrate into the broth.
Lastly, As soon as you’ve strained the liquid, you’ll want to strain out the sediment (which can be done with a wire mesh strainer (over a bowl or pot to catch the liquid) or with a colander lined with cheesecloth (again, positioned over a bowl or pot).
In the refrigerator, you can store the broth for up to a week or in the freezer for several weeks.
Salt it if you like, or leave it unsalted and just salt whatever dish you plan to use it in. In the case of freezing, make sure to cool the broth completely in the refrigerator before transferring to the freezer.
I like to freeze my broth in heavy duty zip top freezer bags that lay flat, so they are stackable and don’t take up a lot of space.
The photo is actually of my stovetop chicken broth. While I was too busy packing up for the move to take pictures of the slow cooker chicken broth, it looked exactly the same as what was shown in the stovetop photo.
I know many of you cook your own broth at home, so could you share your favorite tips and supplements with Apronese.com? Leave a comment below for everyone to read and refer to.