When fall and winter roll around, I love to spend all day Sunday in the kitchen preparing meals and dishes while watching football games on TV. That’s when I prepare food for the whole week—from recipes that require hours of stove or oven time.
This recipe is ideal for when you don’t have that time. Fall is here, and it’s always handy to have homemade chicken stock waiting for you in the freezer, for soups, risottos, braises, etc. The flavor of homemade broth is so much better than packaged broth, and you know exactly what is in it.
I’ve never really had a recipe written down for my chicken stock, I tend to just throw a bunch of things in the slow cooker when I don’t have time to babysit a simmering pot. But this recipe below is a good approximation of what I tend to do. Hope you like it!
Slow Cooker Chicken Soup Stock
- 1 gallon Ziploc bag full of chicken bones and pieces
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 leek, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 head of garlic, halved crosswise (no need to peel)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1-2 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 tsp salt
- A handful of herbs: parsley, rosemary, thyme—whatever you have on hand
- Water—enough to almost fill your slow cooker
- I start by keeping a gallon-size Ziploc bag in the freezer and adding chicken bones and pieces to it over time. Once I’ve filled a bag, I put the bones and chicken pieces in my slow cooker with the onion, leek, celery, garlic, bay leaf, peppercorns, salt and herbs. Add water to the slow cooker, leaving about two inches of space at the top. Set the slow cooker to low, and leave it on for anywhere from 8 to 24 hours.
- When you’re happy with the flavor, strain the liquid and discard the remaining bones and veggies. To strain, I like to use a chinois (a cone-shaped sieve) lined with a coffee filter, but there are many ways to do it.
- Chill the stock overnight in the fridge. In the morning, scrape off the fat that hardens on the surface. Divide into single-use portions and freeze them. You can divide the stock by pouring it into ice cube trays (pop and store the cubes in a Ziploc bag after they’re frozen solid), a freezer bag or quart-size jars.
- Just remember to leave some room for expansion with the glass jars! I’ve made that mistake before, which added an extra step of defrosting and straining out bits of glass. Oops.
- Make sure to label the broth, including when it was made. Use it within six months
We’re not done yet! Here are a few really easy recipes that incorporate this delicious broth here:
Smokey butternut squash and coconut soup
- buy frozen cooked butternut squash (and skip the peeling and dicing!)
- 1/2 onion, sautéed
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- A touch of ground cumin and coriander (add as much as you like to make it fragrant)
- About 1 tablespoon chipotle in adobo sauce (or less if you don’t like too much heat)
- 3 to 4 cups good chicken or veggie stock (depending how thick you like your soup)
- Salt and pepper to season
- Chopped sprouts (or micro greens), sunflower seeds, cream (optional), and a drizzle of olive oil to garnish
Cook all the ingredients (except for the garnish and toppings) in a big pot, season to taste and feel free to add anything else you like (apples? or even more spice). Garnish and serve!
Quinoa Risotto with purple kale and avocado
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 clove or garlic
- 3 chopped shallots (or 1 small onion)
- 1 teaspoon dry thyme
- 750 ml good chicken or veggie stock
- 1 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- Splash of cream
- 1 handful chopped purple kale
- 1/2 avocado, sliced
Make the risotto by cooking the arborio rice with the garlic, shallots, thyme, and stock (if you’ve never cooked risotto before, check out this post), add the parmesan towards the end, once it’s done, fold in the cooked quinoa, the splash of cream, and the kale. Serve, and top with avocado.
Slow Cooker Beef Stew with Roasted Cherry tomatoes
Now we all have our favourite recipe for beef stew, but here’s some of the things we used for the one in the photo:
- chuck meat (or other meat suitable for slow cooking)
- carrots, onions, celery
- 1 can roasted tomatoes
- 500 ml good chicken or beef stock
- 1 bay leaf
- cumin and oregano (as much as you like)
- 3 tablespoons good BBQ sauce
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- salt and pepper to season
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
Cook the beef stew (and remember to add anything else you want to it!) – if you’ve never done beef stew in a slow cooker before, check out this post.
Once your stew is done, turn on your oven to 400F. Place the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 15-20 minutes until tomatoes start to burst. Remove from the oven. Serve the stew, top with the tomatoes, and add some cilantro or parsley.
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