Easy Slow Cooker Chicken or Beef Stock

chicken stock

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

Ingredients:

  •         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

Instructions:

  1.       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.chicken bones
  2.       Put bones in crock pot along with the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic.
  3.       Fill crockpot to the top with water
  4.       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.
  5.       Carefully pour stock through a mesh strainer into a large bowl.bowl of chicken stock
  6.       Let come to room temperature and then refrigerate overnight
  7.       Using a spoon, scrap the excess fat that has floated to the top and solidified
  8.       Now your stock is ready to use.
  9.       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 tray of chicken stock

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.

chicken stock ice cubes

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.

 

Pulled Pork Pizza

I’m a big fan of pizza, as any teenage girl living in a thirty-something-year-old-body could be  ;). My pizza making has evolved from pepperoni and cheese on top of English muffins and bagels, to store bought already cooked crust, to a ball of store bought dough, to me actually making the dough from scratch.  I’ve been experimenting a lot with my crust recipe and  have settled into a winning pizza crust method!  This recipe is from “My Bread” by Jim Lahey, which is a great book if you are just getting into making your own bread.

If you do not own a food scale, buy one!  You can find them for as little as $12 new or even less if you happen upon one at a yard sale or thrift shop.  One of the great things about Lahey’s book is that he has measurements in both cups and weight.

Ingredients:

Bread Flour – 500g (3 3/4 cups sifted)
Instant or active dry yeast – 10g (2 1/2 teaspoon)
Salt – 5g (3/4 teaspoon)
Sugar – 3G (3/4 teaspoon plus a pinch)
Water at room temperature – 300g (1 1/3 cup)
Extra virgin olive oil for the pans

Instructions:

1. In medium bowl combine dry ingredients and mix, add water and mix with wooden spoon for 30 seconds.  This should give you a stiff ball of dough.

2. Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a wet towel and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

3. Use an oiled spoon or bowl scraper to remove the dough from the bowl.  Divide into 2 parts. I put one of the halves in a plastic container and freeze it for later.  (This is where I deviate from the recipe) For thin crust divide the ball in half again and shape into a ball, allow to rest for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 425.  Oil pizza pans liberally.  Use your hands to stretch the dough, place the dough on the pizza pan and press it out towards the sides of the pan.  Alternate between working the dough into a pizza shape and allowing it to rest, this will allow the dough to stay stretched.

5. Once your dough is stretched out on the pan, allow to rest for 5 minutes.  Put in preheated oven and bake for 5 minutes.

6. Remove from oven and top crust with your pizza toppings.

7.  Bake pizza for 7-8 minutes until crust is brown.

Making pizza is a yummy way to re-purpose leftovers.  I’ve been experimenting with the different meats that I would have in my fridge every week and pulled pork pizza is a favorite.  To see how I make pulled pork check out this post.  For two pizzas you will need 1 cup of pulled pork, 1/2 lbs of mozzarella cheese, and your favorite BBQ sauce.

Pulled Pork Pizza Ingredients

Stretch out your crust and bake partway according to the above directions.  With the low temperature of my oven, cooking the crust part way before adding toppings will give you a more sturdy crust.  If you like a softer, fold in half type of pizza you can skip the partial baking and put your topping directly on the raw dough. I have tried it both ways and prefer a sturdy crust.

Pizza Crust

Spread the pulled pork out on the crust.  It will be easier to break apart if the pork is warmed in the microwave.  A little bit of meat goes a long way on pizza.  Once your meat is evenly distributed on the pizza crust squeeze out about 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce per pizza.

Pulled Pork Pizza Assembly

Top with mozzarella cheese and continue baking for another 7-9 minutes.  Once the pizza is done, use a rubber spatula to loosen the pizza from the pan.  Transfer to a cutting board and cut into pieces.

Cooked pulled pork pizza

Pizza is so easy and cheap to make.  I did a price break down in this post of how much pizza cost me to make.  When you cook from scratch you not only save money the majority of the time but you know exactly what ingredients are in your food.