I always read about people simmering vegetables and/or bones on the stove all day to make stock, but that just seems like one more thing for me to have to babysit. And if you know me at all, the LAST thing I’m looking for is one more thing to babysit! (As my BFF Tricia would say — I’m only 30% joking.) The solution: why not try the slow cooker?
I had a bunch of spent vegetables and a chicken carcass left over from Sunday night’s dinner, so I threw them all into the pot and covered it all with water. I started it on high around noon on Tuesday, then I switched it down to low before I went to bed that night. Wednesday morning, I turned it off and let it cool, then I divided it into usable portions to freeze for future use. Two of the portions are in quart-sized freezer bags, and the other two are in plastic storage cups. This was my first time making stock, so I wasn’t sure what the best way to go about storage was. Any ideas? I’d like to do something eco-friendly (meaning not disposable) and preferably not made out of plastic. Are there any inexpensive glass storage containers for the freezer? I will have to do some research.
That local chicken turned out to be a great deal. The $15 spent on a whole chicken seems like a great value when you look at everything I got out of it:
* Four meal-sized servings of stock — $8 value if I were to buy the organic, free-range stock at the store
* Four chicken meals (the Sunday roast, the enchiladas, plus two servings to freeze) — $16 value if I were to buy high quality boneless, skinless chicken breast at the store
…the verdict: I saved $9 over buying this stuff at the store! My local chicken (which was raised in a sustainable, Joel Salatin-style fashion) is a great deal. Even if it wasn’t, it’s still more nutritious than those factory farm chickens, and the bone broth derived from it will do much better in terms of taste AND nutrition.
The only downer: we won’t be able to get any more chickens until spring. Eating seasonally has a few drawbacks, but none that are deal-breakers. So I’ll still buy chicken from Whole Foods over the next few months.