Homemade stock used to seem like too much work for me. A few years ago I learned the many health benefits of homemade stock using chicken and beef bones and so I set out to find the easiest way to make it. Of course you don't have to use your slow cooker, but it really is the simplest method.
I usually cook a whole roasting chicken in the crock pot as well. Simply remove the innards (I know, gross) and place the chicken inside the pot. Then season with salt, pepper and anything else you like (garlic powder, herbs). Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours until chicken is done. No need to add any liquids.This is my family's favorite way to eat chicken- super moist! Then save the bones and carcass to make your stock. I usually do this the next day, but otherwise just toss them inside a container or ziploc bag and stick them in the freezer to use later.
Since we don't ever eat beef with bones, I buy organic beef bones in the freezer section at Whole Foods for a few dollars.
Adding apple cider vinegar to your broth helps to extract the minerals from the bones. The addition of sea vegetables, like wakame, also adds beneficial minerals without altering the taste.
This is really just a guideline. You can really add almost anything to your stock. There is also no need to make this look pretty- just chop veggies into large pieces.
organic beef bones or chicken bones/carcass
large onion and/or leeks or scallions
several organic carrots, rinsed and chopped (peel if not organic)
several ribs of organic celery (celery is one of the "dirty dozen" that you should buy organic)
a clove or 2 of garlic, peeled
a few shreds of wakame or other sea vegetable
a splash of apple cider vinegar
a few sprigs of fresh herbs or dried if you don't have fresh
sea salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in the crock pot and cover with filtered water to the top. Cover and cook on high for at least 8 hours, up to 24. The longer you cook it, the higher the mineral content will be.
Strain the stock and discard the solids. Ladle into glass mason jars and allow to cool if freezing. Otherwise refrigerate until ready to use. Use to make soups or stews or anytime you need to use broth in a recipe.