April 28, 2014

Chicken Stock (from a Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken)

I shared in this post how to cook a delicious whole chicken in your crockpot (which helps me avoid overpriced frozen chicken breasts in the freezer aisle). Not only can you get an enormous amount of fresh chicken meat from a whole bird, but you can use what is left after you've cooked it by making chicken stock out of the leftover juice, bones & skin.

At the end of the chicken recipe, you will have the leftover juice in the crockpot & the bones/skin in another bowl.

Simply put all of the bones/skin back into the crockpot of juice. Sorry - there's just no way to make this look pretty. :)

Fill the crockpot up the rest of the way with water. I didn't even measure but I would say 6-8 cups of water would do the job!

Optional step - you can add in any extra veggies you have here. I had some onion & celery scraps that I put in there for extra flavor! Set this on low for 8-10 hours, or overnight. 

When that's done, strain the juice into a large bowl or container. Then you will want to put it in the refrigerator for a couple hours until the fat has separated & risen to the top.

Scrape off the fat & what's left is your homemade chicken stock! I poured the stock into a muffin pan & froze them in small portions. 

Crockpot Rotisserie Chicken

This is something I wish I had learned to do right off the bat!! As a family of 3 (almost 4) on a budget, we eat a lot of "normal" stuff mostly with chicken & beef, every now & then seafood or something different like that. I always got frozen chicken breasts & thighs in the big bags at the grocery store, usually for about $10-$12 a bag depending on where I shopped. The bags would last about 1/2 a month or so. Somewhere across the internet I came across the idea of cooking a whole chicken in a crockpot & using fresh cooked chicken meat for meals.

The thought of cooking a raw chicken intimidated me beyond belief, but I thought I would try it out at least once. I'M SO GLAD I DID...y'all I am never going back to frozen chicken breast days. And seriously, what's worse than forgetting to set out the chicken to defrost & then having to power-thaw it at the last minute? Or opening up the bag & realizing the chicken is mostly just gross chicken fat.

I am getting 6-7 lb Tyson chickens at Aldi for about $5-6 each. This one chicken will last me 1.5 - 2 weeks if I plan out my meals. Of course, the chicken doesn't stay fresh past a week..so I just throw whatever is leftover in the freezer & use whatever I need to from that stash. It doesn't take a rocket scientiest to figure out that this is a better deal nutritionally & financially. So I encourage you to try this out!

Helpful Tips:
-Don't do this while you have kids running around. Just don't. Wait until they're in bed or down for a nap. Yes - it is a little bit more time consuming (but worth it) & you don't want to stop in the middle of this to tend to a child (or in my case a screaming 1 year old) when you have raw chicken juice all over your hands.
-Set up your trash can by your kitchen sink.
-Set up the crockpot right next to your sink so you don't have to walk a raw chicken that might drip juice on the floor across your kitchen.

First of all, thoroughly disinfect the sink & counters! Put the bird into the sink & cut it out of it's package. Let all the juice drain out & down the drain.

This was really hard to get a picture of, but inside the open end there will be in innards of the chicken. Remove the guts & put into your trash can (which is why you want it right beside you).

After that, rinse it off, make sure all the juice has dripped off & place it right into your crockpot. You don't need to grease the crockpot or anything - just place the chicken right inside of it!!

Now you can season the bird however you want! I usually stick with salt, pepper, garlic & onions. But you can get really creative here - stuff the bird with lemons & oranges, or put fresh herbs in with the chicken. Seriously, endless delicious possibilities! When you have it just right, cook it on low for about 3-4 hours. It will be filling your house with an INCREDIBLE smell & will look straight out of a magazine with it's crispy golden color.

If you're eating the whole chicken as a main dish - well shoot, dinner is served! But if you want to take apart the meat & use it for other recipes like I do, you'll obviously need to let it cool down enough to be able to touch. Set up different containers, one for the meat, one for the skin & bones. From here you just have to get down & dirty & pick apart the meat. It usually only takes me 20 minutes. When you're done you'll have the chicken meat, the bones/skin & the leftover juice.

You COULD be done at this point, but if you want to go one step further, you could make chicken stock out of all of this. That post is right here:

If not, youre' done & now have delicious rotisserie chicken meat. Enjoy!

Whole chicken

Clean out chicken insides & throw away. Rinse & place chicken in crockpot. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until done. Let cool & separate meat from bones.
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