One of the easiest ways to make your own stock is to create it in a slow cooker. The main benefit of this method is that you don’t have to watch over it for hours like you would if you were simmering the stock on the hob, but there are also other positives too.
Making your own stock is a great way to make your meat go further and avoid as much food waste as possible. A homemade stock makes other meals like ramens, soups, risottos and paella taste far superior than they do with instant stock and using your scraps is also very economical, so can save you money too.
This post is not really a recipe as such, but a collection of hacks to make your own stock without much fuss. Here’s our top tips for making chicken stock using the slow cooker method.
To make about 1 litre of stock, you need a combination of 5 basic ingredients:
A chicken carcass (bones, skins & fatty meat all add flavour)
Water (enough to cover the contents)
Salt and Pepper
A selection of vegetables (see further details below)
Herbs (see below)
Simply place these ingredients in your slow cooker and simmer on high for around 8 hours or overnight. Allow to cool.
Using a spoon, skim away any scum that has formed on the surface. Then collect the liquid by draining the contents through a sieve or colander. Discard the remaining ingredients.
Your stock is now ready for use to create other dishes, or to be stored/frozen for a later date
Notes on ingredients
The 3 main vegetables that I normally add to my stockpot are onions, garlic and carrots, but not every stock I make has the same things in it. I make stock to save on food waste, so I often add vegetables to stock that are close to their use-by date or just handy because we have them in the pantry. I also add a lot of items from the garden veg plot, and what is abundant there changes with the seasons.
Making a stock involves infusing the water with the flavours and nutrients from the vegetables. Due to this, there isn’t really a vegetable, herb or spice that’s not suitable for use in a stock, as long as you like the taste.
Here’s a list of items I have often added to my stock
Celery (stems, leaves)
Broccoli (florets, stems)
Brussel Sprouts (leaves)
Wild garlic (ransoms)
Items to customise your stock for the recipe it is to be used for
Hints and Tips
The vegetables and herbs you use for your stock do not need to be fresh. I often have a Tupperware tub in my freezer in which I collect food scraps sorely for use in my next stock. This usually includes bits of vegetables we don’t tend to eat, like the leaves of celery, carrot peelings, the outer leaves of cabbage and the stems of broccoli. They are fine to use in the stock and cut down on your kitchen waste.
Another thing I like to do is tailor my stock for the recipe I am making it for. If you know you are going to use it for soup, then make sure you add common herbs like rosemary & thyme to make a savoury stock. Likewise, if you know you will use the stock in something like ramen, then add oriental spices to infuse into the stock as it is created. I often add ginger, chilli and extra garlic to my slow cooker if I know I will be using the stock for a spicier cuisine.
Another great food waste saving tip is to add cheese rinds to your stockpot. They don’t dissolve into the stock, but do add nice umami to the liquid. I have started freezing all my stilton and brie rinds in my stock box, ready for quick and easy stock making the next time we have an available carcass.
The slow cooker method can also be used to create a vegetable stock. Just replace the chicken carcass with a greater number of vegetables and herbs.