A dash of acid (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar?) might help get more good out of the bones. Stock can be less than delicious, but adding the right seasonings later, and cooking the veggies only in the last phase (so they don't get overcooked), can help a lot. A dollop of sour cream at the time of serving and just a little sea salt completes the transformation to delicious.
I usually start with the cooker on "high" for an hour or two, to sterilize any baddies on the outside of the meat, then turn to low and let it go a really long time, till all the cartilage is soft or dissolved and everything falls apart.
I just bought a bigger crockpot, because the 2.5 quart one I have isn't big enough for some of the grassfed lamb and beef cuts I want to cook in it. The good ones are those with the major joints and cartilage and tendons, which is what makes the good stock. It turns to aspic (it gels) when it is cooled in the fridge.
I don't throw away the bones. After they've had everything cooked off them, and I've nibbled on the softer parts of them, I let them dry, and then put them in the corner of the firebox of my wood stove. They get all crumbly, and then they go into the garden beds. Perfectly good minerals in exactly the right form for soil organisms (and therefore plants) to take advantage of -- why waste them in a landfill?
+1 for making broth on the stove-top, and +1 for a dollop of sour cream! I also cook mine on the stove (usually roasted chicken bones or turkey carcass), and I seriously reduce. I don't dispute the ease of crockpot preparation, but, for me, the slow reduction from long simmering on the stove is key. I'm not greatly experienced with the crockpot or slow-cooker, but I have used one and thought the results a bit watery, mainly because the crockpot, by design, doesn't vent and so fails to reduce liquids while cooking. (Is this why so many crockpot recipes call for soup mixes or condensed soups--to compensate for the lack of reduction?)
Originally Posted by piano-doctor-lady
Yes, on the stove, you do need to add water from time to time and generally attend to it, so I only make broth on weekends, when I have that time. Given enough time and reduction, though, any broth will develop enviable "curves." And a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of sea salt, as per piano-doctor-lady, will make even a skinny-mini broth billow into lusciousness.
Either way, crockpot or stove-top, just cook the bones, for a long long long time, very slowly; reduce the liquid; then serve up the soup with fat and salt. It's all good.
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