My favorite way to add extra flavor to any dish is to use chicken or beef stock anytime a savory dish calls for water. Making your own stock is simple and gives you a much tastier result than store bought stock. When you cook from scratch you control the quality of the ingredients. With this recipe you get a low sodium stock. If you find the stock lacking in flavor you can add extra garlic or a little bit of salt. I normally will skip the salt and add it to my finished dishes as needed.
Easy crockpot chicken or beef stock
- 3 to 6 oz of cooked bones (chicken or beef)
- 1 onion – leave the skin on the onion if you want a darker colored stock
- 1 carrot
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 celery stalk
- Remove fat skin and meat from the bones. You don’t need to have perfectly clean bones, a little scrap of meat and fat here and there will add flavor. You want the bones to come from cooked meat so this means you would use the bones from a roasted chicken or from bone-in steaks, roasts or beef ribs. If you want to use raw bones it requires a little more work.
- Put bones in crock pot along with the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.
- Fill crockpot to the top with water
- Turn crockpot on high and let cook for 8+ hours. The longer it cooks the more flavor you will get in your stock. I will usually set this up after dinner and let it cook over night. Do not cook longer than 18 hours or your bones will start to disintegrate.
- Carefully pour stock through a mesh strainer into a large bowl.
- Let come to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight
- Using a spoon, scrap the excess fat that has floated to the top and solidified
- Now your stock is ready to use.
- Storage: Refrigerated stock needs to be used within 3 days. Frozen stock will be good for 6 months. I freeze my stock in an ice cube tray and then put all of the cubes in a gallon size storage back in the freezer. When adding stock to a recipe 8 ice cubes is about 1 cup.
Ice cube trays are my preferred tool for storing liquids. It gives you about a 1 oz portion per cube and allows you to utilize your freezer space a bit better than if you were freezing cup portions in plastic containers. I’ve tried using portion bags in 1/2 cup size and the bags tend to leak a bit prior to freezing completely. They don’t fit into my door compartments as easily as the cubes and sometimes you want less than 1/2 cup.
I am always using chicken or beef stock in my cooking. Here are some simple preparations using the stock:
Brown Rice – 1 cup dried brown rice, 1 ½ cups chicken or beef stock, ½ salt, 1 Tablespoon dried thyme. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Barley – 1 cup rinsed barley, 3 cups chicken or beef stock, ½ salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Marsala Cream Sauce – Chop 1 clove of garlic and 1 shallot, fry in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil for 3 minutes, add ½ cup marsala wine and cook for 5 minutes, add 1/3 cup heavy cream and ½ cup chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes. This sauce is great on scallops, pork and chicken.
White Wine Cream Sauce – Chop 1 clove of garlic and 1 shallot, fry in a skillet with 1 tablespoon of oil for 3 minutes, add ½ cup white wine and cook for 5 minutes, add 1/3 cup heavy cream and ½ cup chicken stock and cook for 10 minutes.
Chicken Soup – Combine 2 chopped celery stalks, 2 chopped carrots, 1 chopped onion and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil into a stock pot over medium heat. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Add 6 cups of chicken stock, 2 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper. Cook over medium heat until veggies are tender. Add cooked noodles right before serving if desired.