I think I’m going to start counting how many times I write about how much I love to eat soup in the cold weather. What can I say – I tend to talk about what I like. One thing I love about soup as an evening meal is that not only is it generally pretty healthy, but it’s also usually pretty inexpensive. Although the one exception to that rule seems to be chicken broth. I didn’t realize how expensive it was (to get the good stuff) until I started making soups that called for at least 6-8 cups of chicken broth.
So what’s an aspiring “make everything from scratch and keep it as cheap as possible” cook supposed to do? Make chicken broth at home of course. One problem. I seem to have no free time for long, laborious, stand over the stove recipes. Enter: The Slow Cooker. This has revolutionized my soup making.
(*Note: I have absolutely zero idea if this is the “correct” way of making chicken stock. I read about it on numerous blogs, have tried it myself successfully, and have made some delicious soup. I’m speaking from experience and nothing else).
This really couldn’t be easier. I like to start with the bones of a chicken – most likely a roasted chicken I bought from the grocery store (although my mom is teaching me to roast a chicken this weekend! Updates soon). We generally have chicken for dinner that night, then I pick the rest of the meat off to freeze for future recipes. Once I’m left with the bones of the chicken the steps are as follows:
- Put chicken carcass (ha, who uses the word carcass in a recipe?) in the crockpot
- Add whatever seasonings you want and cover with water – I usually add some fresh thyme, oregano, parsley, and some salt and pepper. I also read that if you add some vinegar to the pot at this point and let it sit, it helps get all the minerals into your broth. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I don’t.
- Add your vegetables – I usually add carrots, celery, and onion. You can also add these halfway through, but again, I tend to forget, so I just add everything at once.
- Cover, turn crockpot on high until it comes to a boil and skim off whatever comes to the top.
- Turn crockpot to low and simmer for 12-24 hours.
- Let the broth cool and strain it into containers to freeze. I like to strain it into a large bowl, then place it in freezer bags in 2-cup quantities. Freeze the bags flat on a cookie sheet so that they’re stackable in the freezer.
It seems complicated, but it’s really not. And the best part is that the broth just cooks away while I’m doing something else. I like to start it on a Friday evening after dinner, let it cook all night, and then deal with it on Saturday morning.
Homemade broth really does make the best soups, and best of all you can control the ingredients in it. It’s cheap, healthy, easy and delicious. This is what works for me.
Inspired by Donielle at Naturally Knocked Up