A few weeks ago we bought five naturally raised whole, frozen chickens from DanJo Farms. If you’re in the CoMo area I’d recommend them; they were easy to work with and because we were part of a bigger order with a few other people, we paid $2.50/lb and they delivered right to our door.
I’ve only cooked a whole chicken a handful of times, so it had never even crossed my mind to make chicken stock until my friend Amanda mentioned it. I’ve never seen chicken stock made so it had never even occurred to me that this might be something worthwhile to do.
After we cooked up our first chicken I saved all the scraps for a slow cooker stock. I followed the general instructions here of adding a few carrots, onions, bay leaves, etc., then filling the crockpot 3/4 of the way full and cooking on low for 10 hours. Man, the smell in our house at the end of the day was intense.
I threw all the fat, skin and everything in the pot, so this meant that the fat needed to be removed after cooking. After removing the solids I put the stock in the fridge to cool overnight, then skimmed the fat off the top the next morning.
I ended up making a second batch immediately after the first one was finished, and because I didn’t have as much time I cooked it on high for about 5 hours. It seemed to work out fine, too. I froze as much as I could in canning jars, and when I ran out I put the rest in freezer bags.
Between the two batches I froze about 25 cups of chicken stock. I put a pinch of salt in the first batch, but then decided it really didn’t need it and didn’t put any in the second batch. A really flavourful, local, homemade salt-free chicken stock for very little effort? Not bad.