I can't believe I haven't shared this with you sooner!
Here is the easiest, most economical, and tastiest thing you can do (assuming you eat meat).
Buy meat with bones in it (a whole chicken, turkey, bone-in beef, etc), which is usually cheaper than the boneless cut. After consuming all the meat, save those bones. Once you have a nice collection of bones (say, a handful for beef bones, a carcass for chicken, etc), you're ready to make stock in your slow cooker!
Once the liquid cools, it will become gelatinous. That's great! That's the marrow from the bones, not the fat (which will be an orangey/yellowish solid that forms on the top of the stock).
- Put bones in slow cooker (and if your carcass came with offal, you can put that in here as well).
- Add enough water to cover the top of the bones.
- Put lid on and turn on Low heat.
- Ignore your slow cooker for at least 24 hours, probably more like 2-4 days.
- Once the bones in your slow cooker are basically disintegrated (beef bones that bend and break easily by hand, or chicken bones that are falling apart), turn off the slow cooker.
- Strain the solid chunks from the liquid through a cheesecloth or fine seive....or clean pair of nylons you don't mind ruining. You'll be throwing out/composting the solids, and saving the liquids, so use appropriate containers.
You can freeze it for later use, or not, and add it to sauces, use as a base for soups and stews, etc.
See? Totally easy, and maximizes the use of your original ingredient.
Why stock, and not broth? It's healthier for you, containing more minerals than broth, and it's more flavorful.
*Fedora would like me to remind you that you may want to keep the 'hockey puck' of fat that forms on top of the cooled stock. It's flavorful, of course, and works well in small parts in soups and stews, but also can be used to season cast iron pans (as it's essentially lard).
Labels: bones, broth, cooking, crock pot, meat, recipe, slow cooker, stock