I’ve been making chicken broth in a very large stock pot on the stove for as long as I can remember. But, having a pot of anything boiling on the stove for several hours uses up electricity, and money, plus there is a whole lot of hovering over the stove, stirring, sipping and adjusting the heat involved! Then we bought our first slow cooker, and my experience of making chicken broth has never been the same again. I now always cook my chicken broth in the slow cooker.
Homemade chicken broth is also a tradition in our family, and one which I would like to keep alive. Our grandparents and parents never bought any kind of soup at the supermarket. The chicken broth we used to have as kids was always made at home. While it’s true that store bought chicken soup is ‘very convenient’, the taste or the goodness could never, ever rival that of a homemade chicken broth, or any other bone broth (no matter what the commercial says!).
Chicken broth especially is very healthy. After hours of cooking, all the goodness has to be in that liquid! According to Dr. Amy Myers at MBG (mindbodygreen) it can help reduce inflammation, fight colds and flu and promotes healthy sleep and a healthy gut. It also tastes great!
As opposed to the more traditional method, making chicken broth in the slow cooker is very easy, and doesn’t involve a whole lot of stirring or sipping! Remember that with a slow cooker you don’t want to open the lid unnecessarily as this allows the heat to escape which in turn extends your cooking time and uses more electricity.
An additional bonus is that this is a truly frugal recipe. It takes so few ingredients and is made using leftover chicken bones from a previously roasted chicken (see my Roast Chicken in the Slow Cooker recipe here). Sure, you can use fresh chicken bones but the already roasted bones actually add a whole new world of flavour to your broth and make sure that nothing goes to waste in your frugal kitchen. I also find that with roasted chicken bones there is almost no fat in your broth – it has pretty much all dripped away to make the gravy while you were roasting the chicken.
Here’s what you need to make a pot of delicious chicken broth at home:
- Chicken bones (I usually use all the bones from 2 whole chickens)
- 3 Tsp. Vinegar
- 1 onion quartered
- 2 chopped carrots
- 2-3 celery sticks
- 3-4 garlic cloves (optional)
- 1 parsnip, chopped (also optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6-8 litres of water, depending on the size of your slow cooker pot
Add all the ingredients to your slow cooker and top with water. I usually top up to about an inch from the top. Cook on auto for about 8-10 hours. Strain the liquid through a fine sieve. If you like, you can then add the chopped carrots and parsnip to back into your broth – I usually do as I don’t like to waste any food, if I can help it.
Store chicken broth in the freezer for up to 3 months and use as needed. Use your broth whenever a recipe calls for stock – there is no need for stock cubes in your frugal kitchen at all. Enjoy your chicken broth plain or add some noodles while you are heating it up. Enjoy in summer or winter – it always tastes great.