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Techniques - Making Stock in the Slow Cooker

DK PublishingDK Publishing 2/07/2014 DKBooks
Photo: Fish stock © Provided by DKBooks Fish stock

Fish stock

© Provided by DKBooks

© Provided by DKBooks

Making Stock in the Slow Cooker

Using your slow cooker is a simple and efficient way to make stock—the liquid won’t evaporate and boil dry, so you can leave it unattended. Save the carcass or bones from poultry, meat, or fish when preparing a dish, then add them to the slow cooker with water and flavorings and leave it to simmer overnight. Stock freezes well, so if you are not using it immediately, let it cool and freeze it for up to 1 month.


Vegetable stock

Save scraps, peelings, stalks, tops, and ends from vegetables such as onion, carrot, celery, leek, and fennel to use as the base of your stock.

Add the vegetable scraps to the slow cooker. You can also add any herbs you may have, such as parsley sprigs and a bay leaf, along with a few black peppercorns and a pinch of salt.

Boil enough water to cover all the ingredients, then pour this into the slow cooker. Cover with the lid, and cook on auto/low for 6–8 hours. Skim the stock halfway through the cooking time, if needed. Strain the stock and allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.


Meat stock

Add a chicken carcass or beef bones to the slow cooker with a handful of raw vegetables such as carrot tops, celery, and onion.

Add some black peppercorns and a pinch of salt to the slow cooker, along with herbs such as parsley or a bay leaf, if you wish.

Boil enough water to cover all the ingredients, then pour this into the slow cooker. Cover with the lid, and cook on auto/low for 6–8 hours. Skim the stock halfway through the cooking time, if needed. Strain the stock and allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.


Fish stock

Ask your fish seller for some fish heads, or use leftovers from another dish. Choose white fish such as sea bass or haddock, but avoid oily fish because their stonger flavor will taint the stock.

Add the fish scraps to the slow cooker along with some fresh herbs, such as thyme, and some fennel scraps or onion.

Pour over enough boiling water to cover all the ingredients, cover with the lid, and cook on auto/low for 6–8 hours. Skim the stock halfway through the cooking time, if needed. Strain the stock and allow to cool before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.


Skimming stock

When making stock, quite often a layer of frothy “scum” will appear on the surface. To skim it off, use a ladle or a metal spoon to scoop it away and then discard it. You may find you need to do this a few times during cooking. Meat and fish stocks are most likely to need skimming.


Straining stock

Once the stock has finished cooking, strain it immediately; don’t leave it sitting. To strain the stock, turn the slow cooker off then lift out the inner pot. Carefully strain the stock liquid into a pitcher or bowl through a fine nylon mesh sieve, or you could line a sieve with cheesecloth. It is easiest to do this a ladleful at a time. Discard any bones, carcass, and vegetables used and leave the stock to cool.

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