We love chicken around here and I love making one chicken go as far as possible.
My favorite and super easy way to cook a whole chicken is in the crockpot. It’s so simple and so delicious. You throw the chicken in (breast side down), season and put on low for 6-8 hours. Really, what could be simpler?
So, in keeping with stretching that chicken as far as it can possibly go, I make chicken broth/stock from it. And I do it the easy way, also!
Note: this is usually done just after dinner since I’ve cooked the chicken to have some for dinner.
Once I remove the chicken from the crockpot, I let it cool until it is manageable, then get to work separating it. I remove all the good meat (to freeze), then put EVERYTHING (skin, giblets, bones, etc.) back into the crockpot with whatever liquid the chicken has already given off. I then chop an onion, 2-3 celery stalks and 2-3 carrots and throw them in (you don’t have to bother peeling the veggies since it will all be strained out later). Add enough COLD water to fill my pot about 1/2″ from the top and add a splash of raw apple cider vinegar – to help pull out the marrow. Put the lid back on and leave it on low until the next morning (I usually don’t have time to tend to it until after breakfast).
I turn it off and let it cool for a while, then strain through a mesh strainer into a large glass bowl. I discard all everything that gets strained out and then I strain the liquid once more through a super fine mesh strainer – metal mesh coffee filter set inside the other strainer works perfectly.
I then stick in in the fridge for several hours to let it cool completely – usually until after dinner that night.
This is how it looks when it’s completely chilled before I portion it into my freezer containers.
I then transfer into whatever freezer containers I have available (I have an assortment of glass canning jars and plastic freezer jam jars).
Tip: I move my crock pot into the garage when I’m using it overnight for chicken stock. I simply cannot tolerate waking up to the smell of chicken broth.
Additional note: I buy locally raised, free range whole chickens and I personally know my farmer and her practices. I don’t recommend adding organs (giblets) into your stock if your chicken is not properly raised/fed.