Lord knows we create a ton of vegetable scraps in our house and, while it’s nice that you can compost most of it, it does seem like a shame to toss out what, really, is food. It’s especially a shame when that food is relatively expensive local produce that packs amazing flavor. Similarly, while the industrial food producers can turn the unlovely bits of their birds into chicken flavored nugget paste, your local farmers probably have a ton of free-range necks and backs at the bottoms of their freezers.
Times like these call for thinking like a peasant and making some soup!
Slowcooker Chicken Stock
Stock can be complicated, but this recipe isn’t. It’s not really even a recipe. Simply take:
- whatever tasty veggies you have,
- one to two pounds of chicken necks or backs, the carcass or bones from your last chicken dinner, or leave it out for a veg version,
- a teaspoon to a tablespoon of peppercorns, depending on your tastes,
- a teaspoon of salt,
- two bay leaves, and
- water to cover.
Let it cook all day or overnight. When you’re done, pour it through a colander and use as the base for your favorite soup recipe. If the stock is too fatty, chill and skim.
This is a great way to clean out the kitchen when you’ve got a lot of wilting vegetation, or you can save in a bag in the freezer until you’ve got enough. Most aromatic vegetables work great—kale and other cooking greens, onion skins (add a great color), carrots and carrot peelings, celery leaves (which have AMAZING flavor), whatever. At our house, summer stock has a lot more variety, while winter stock might just have some onions or leeks and carrots. Either way, the results are so good, you’ll wonder why you’ve been paying someone for a box of something you’ve been throwing out!
Recipe submitted by the Dongarra family