Slow cooking the chicken bones!?!

photoSunday evening in our house normally means eating a delicious dinner that has taken me a little while to prepare. I love to spend time in the kitchen and as my husband is at home on a weekend I get to spend even more time in there. He looks after my son while I cook the dinner.

Roast dinner is normally one of our favourite meals to cook and eat. We either have beef or chicken with roast potatoes and vegetables, yorkshire puddings, some steamed cabbage and homemade gravy. You can just smell it now! Delicious.

Recently, we have started buying our meat from a local butcher. The meat is organic and tastes amazing but it is more expensive than the supermarket. So I try to get more ‘bang for my buck’. Chicken stock is an excellent way to make the most of your leftover bones.

Now I know it’s a hassle and you will probably tell me you don’t have the time. I know, but the health benefits of making your own stock are amazing. Firstly, if you are watching your waistline the stock is naturally low in calories and fat. Homemade stock is also easily digested by your body so it’s great for people with intestinal distress such as diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome.

Plus stock makes a great base ingredient for many recipes. It can be used to flavour many sauces and vegetable dishes. The huge bonus with stock is that it has several important minerals that help the body. Stock contains a lot of potassium which is essential for a healthy heart. Phosphorous is another mineral in stock that helps aid the metabolism. It also helps build protein and helps with healthy bones and teeth.

Makes 2 – 3 Litres

Equipment needed

  • Knife
  • Chopping board
  • Slow cooker
  • Large measuring jug
  • Ladle
  • Colander
  • Muffin tins or yorkshire pudding tins
  • Freezer

Ingredients

  • Chicken carcass x 1
  • Leek x 1 large
  • Carrots x 2
  • Celery x 2 sticks
  • Garlic x 4 cloves
  • Water x 2 litres (depending on how much your slow cooker holds)
  • Peppercorn x 6
  • Bay leaves x 2

Method

Start by washing and cutting your vegetables. Cut your vegetables in half then make sure they fit into your slow cooker and then place them at the bottom of the cooker.

Normally I throw the ends of the vegetables into the stock and if you have the leafy part of the celery then put this in as well. Once all the vegetables are assembled, place the carcass on top. Then add the water, peppercorns and bay leaves.

Finally turn the cooker on. Put it on high for four hours and low for six. Sometimes if I’m busy I will put the cooker on automatic and come back to it eight hours later.

The best part about putting your stock in a slow cooker is you can just leave it. You do not have to worry about the water boiling away like on the stove. Although, if you don’t have a slow cooker then you can always put your stock in a large pan on the stove.

Bring it to the boil for five minutes and then let it simmer for two hours. Check on it occasionally and top up with boiling water if it starts to evaporate.

For me the slow cooker is the quickest, easiest way to make stock. To store the stock once you have cooked it, place the colander over the jug and then ladle in the stock. Once you have a jug full, leave to cool for half an hour. Skim the fat from the top and pour the stock into the muffin or Yorkshire pudding tin. The same method applies when you cook it on the stove too.

Don’t fill them too much as you will need to put them into the freezer. The Yorkshire pudding tin we have holds six yorkshires so each hole is about 250ml of stock. Every Yorkshire pudding tin will be different. If you would like to know how much yours holds, pour water into it first. Then pour the water into a measuring jug.

When placing them in the freezer make sure to clear a big enough space to put the tins down. I know this may seem logical but I have tried to put the tins in on top of everything else in the freezer and I have had a terrible accident. Stock all over the floor and inside the freezer.

So nowadays I clear a draw. Then as I stack the Yorkshire pudding tin and muffin tin on top of each other. Next I open the door to freezer and slide the empty draw wide open and carefully place them into the freezer.

If you have a draw that is not too complicated to take in and out of the freezer then please feel free to do so. Our freezer draws tilt slightly when taking them in and out and this makes me spill the stock.

Finally, once the stock has frozen, take out the tins and leave to defrost a little but not thoroughly. If you want to get the stock out quickly then place the muffin tins under a tap, like you would with ice cubes and they should come out easily. Then put the block of stock into resealable plastic bags and place back into the freezer. All you need to do after that is take out a piece when you need it.

A perfect way to get a lot more out of your Sunday dinner!