Crock Pot Stock
I have always loved making stock. It’s like the original recycling project in the kitchen. You take odds and ends that are lingering in your produce bin and if you want to make it from meat, you add bones and scraps from that as well. Then after water is added and it boils on the stovetop, you’ve got the makings for soup or stew heaven.
What I never particularly liked was that I needed to be home to keep an eye on the pot as it simmered along. Then I realized my large slow cooker could do the job for me anytime and it made stock making all but a walk on greased skis. I made my stock with ham scraps and bones as well as onions, garlic and celery. I added just a few spices, but no salt since I was using country ham for the base. After putting all the ingredients in the slow cooker, I simply walked away and let this incredible kitchen appliance perform the magic is does so beautifully. I put my slow cooker on just before I went to bed.
When I got up this morning, I had an intoxicating aroma greet me and after straining and refrigerating, the stock is ready to be put to good use elsewhere. I’ll freeze most of it, but will immediately go to work on a soup for the weekend. So pull out your slow cooker if you haven’t already done so and let it help you get back to basics in the New Year!
Crock Pot Stock
Yield: 12 cups
1 large ham hock and/or ham scraps
1 large sweet onion, peeled and halved
2 celery ribs or 4 tops
3 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
12-14 cups water
Place all ingredients in a large slow cooker. Turn on high and cook for 12 hours. Uncover and allow to cool for 30-45 minutes. Remove large pieces with a slotted spoon or tongs. Strain through a colander and cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate and when the fat hardens at the top, remove and discard. Package into freezer containers, label and freeze.