All you need for great stock is (organic) chicken bones and water, but I love the added flavor and health benefits of ginger. I reserve chicken necks and other bones in the freezer (or buy from the butcher) for making stock, or I use a whole chicken when I plan on serving chicken soup for dinner.
- 1 organic chicken (preferably free-range), or bones from a roasted chicken, or 3 pounds of chicken bones
- 2-4 chicken feet (optional – but adds more gelatin to the broth, many butchers sell them)
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (enables more minerals to leech into the stock)
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 cup fresh ginger, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
- 2 heads of garlic – with cloves separated
- 2 lemongrass stalks – optional, infuses an Asian flavor
1. Place chicken and/or chicken bones and feet in a slow cooker insert – 6 quart or larger. Add the apple cider vinegar and fill the insert with cold water. Cover the insert and turn the slow cooker on to low for longer cooking time or on high if you only plan on cooking for 6-8 hours. (Some slow cookers run very hot – if yours does, it’s best to cook on low so as not to boil the stock continuously).
2. Skim the “scum” from the broth (usually appears after a few hours depending how hot your slow cooker runs).
3. Add ginger, garlic, celery, and onions and cook the broth for 12-24 hours.
4. If you are using a whole chicken, you can remove the meat from the stock once its cooked through and reserve for chicken salads or for serving later with the stock so as not to overcook the meat.
5. Add additional vegetables towards the end of cooking time. Herbs should be added 10 minutes before serving.
6. Once the stock gets a golden color it’s ready to serve, though the longer you cook it the more nutrients the stock will have. Strain the stock. Let cool, and refrigerate for 4 days (leave the fat layer that forms on the surface for better storage) or store in the freezer for 3-4 months.
*Note: I prefer to add additional vegetables like carrots and zucchini about an hour or two before serving – just enough to cook through but not too long for their flavors to overtake the stock.