Chicken broth is not only a necessary ingredient for would-be cooks but it is also a must for us dieters. At one time or another we’ve all used the ready-made, shelf-stable chicken broth (or stock) in the tetra pack or can. Mostly because of convenience. You probably have one or two cartons of it in your pantry now because, seriously, who has time to make flipping chicken broth from scratch? You do! In the slow cooker, Crockpot, what ever you call it. Making chicken broth, slow-cooker style is simple. And it tastes far superior to anything you’ll buy in the store. I promise.
Chicken drumsticks are what I use for most of the chicken broth I make. They’re inexpensive & flavorful. Along with carrots, onions, peppercorns, salt, celery & garlic, these simple ingredients go into the slow cooker, get covered with water & cooked for 6 to 10 hours, depending how hurried you are.
You can turn the slow cooker on in the morning & it doesn’t matter if you’re home or not. You can’t do that with the stove-top method. There’s no giant pot of simmering broth to skim, steaming up the kitchen, not to mention that balance somewhere between a few bubbles breaking the surface & the darn pot bubbling over. Nope, there’s none of that with slow cooker broth. Then when the broth is cooked, you simply ladle it into a bowl using a mesh strainer to catch any bits; chill it overnight & scrape any fat from the top before pouring it into containers ready to freeze. The results are thick, jello-like, delicious broth. Just as it should be.
I feel I need to add a couple of disclaimers here: Firstly, to differentiate between broth & stock. Broth is seasoned, ready to consume. Stock requires the cook to add seasoning such as salt. That’s its simplest definition. I use the words ‘broth’ & ‘stock’ interchangeably. The second disclaimer: I was classically trained in French cookery. We did not make broth in a slow cooker. We spent hours making it in giant pots, skimming it constantly (but no stirring), adding egg whites & egg shells so any ‘scum’ would attach to them resulting in clear broth. We were marked on how clear our broth was. For years I made my broth like that – apart from scoring myself at the end, tempting as it was. This classic method is very laborious. Now, I only make broth in the slow cooker. It tastes better & it’s MUCH easier.
And what do I do with the broth? I make soups (duh). Or use it as a base for comfort recipes like chicken meatballs & white beans in broth (pictured above). I add a little broth to make a sauce for a stir-fry. Also as the base for curries & sauces. Even to make creamy mashed beans or sweet taters. My latest craze is chicken broth bowls, these 15 minute marvels are keeping me on track with my healthy eating regime. Stay tuned for an upcoming feature about them. Meanwhile, have a crack at making slow cooker chicken broth & let me know what you think. Until next time, toodles xo.
- 2 large brown onions, with peel, coarsely chopped
- 2 bulbs garlic, halved crossways
- 5 medium carrots, not peeled, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 small bunch celery, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 7 to 8 chicken drumsticks
- Place all ingredients into an 8.5 quart (8.5 liter) slow cooker. Cover with water until 1/4 inch from top of dish; cover with lid. Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 8 to 10 hours.
- Remove drumsticks from broth. Remove chicken meat from bones & reserve for another use (it’s delicious in chicken salads or you can add it back into the broth for soup; you can always freeze it in small re-sealable bags for a later use).
- Strain the broth into a large bowl or heatproof jug. Let stand until warm. Cover & chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Scrape any fat from surface of broth & discard. Give the broth a stir before ladling it into freezer-safe containers or jars, leaving 1/2-inch space for liquid to expand as it freezes. Thaw as needed. Makes 2 quarts (2 liters).
- The broth can be frozen 6 to 12 months.