Simple Chicken Stock

I started making my own stock around the time my husband and I became more conscientious about the meat we eat. He was in chiropractic school at the time, so eating higher-quality meat meant we didn’t eat it often. After paying premium prices for whole chickens, I wanted to get everything I could out of them. Stashing the bones in the freezer makes it easy to find time to “stock up” later.

Prep time 10 minutes
Makes 3 to 31/2 quarts (2.8 to 3.3 liters)

1 meaty carcass from a 3- to 5-pound (1.4 to 2.3 kg) whole chicken (or the equivalent in miscellaneous chicken bones)
1 large onion, quartered
2 to 3 stalks celery, cut into large pieces
2 to 3 carrots, cut into large pieces
A large handful of fresh herbs (like thyme, sage, parsley, or rosemary)
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 Place all of the ingredients into a 6- or 7-quart (5.7 or 6.6 liter) slow cooker. Fill the cooker with water about an inch or two from the top.

2 Cover and cook on low for 18 hours.

3 Remove the bones and large vegetable pieces with tongs and discard them. Pour the rest of the stock through a large fine-mesh strainer. Let the stock cool until it reaches room temperature.

4 If you aren’t using the stock right away, transfer it to containers for chilled storage. For freezing, I like to use quart-size (946 ml) plastic containers. You can also use mason jars, leaving a couple inches of head space, or zip-top freezer bags.