When it comes to producing essential but labour-intensive home-made stock, we're all about time-savers (like using already-roasted chicken as the base for a brown stock). Now we've just discovered another shortcut: use your slow cooker to avoid having to skim chicken stock.
POPSUGAR food editor Nicole Perry makes a good point: the slow cooker's main virtue -- low, even heat -- is a real asset during the process of making a stock or broth. She writes:
The single most frustrating part of making bone-based stock is skimming off all the scum that bubbles up to the top as it simmers along. Made in a slow cooker, the liquid is heated to such a low temperature that the need is virtually eliminated, and the resulting stock is practically crystal-clear.
It's true that uncovered, slow heating is the best way to make stock. As food chemistry authority Harold McGee points out in his book, On Food and Cooking, both of these factors allow soluble proteins to escape their solids and coagulate more slowly, forming large patches of scum that either rise to the surface and are easily skimmed off, or settle into the sides and bottom. So if you do need to skim anything off, it should be pretty easy to do so.
Although this version is made with poultry, you could apply the same slow cooker technique to other bases like beef, vegetable or veal stock. Then you have a deeply flavourful base for soups, sauces and stews. Hit the link below to get the slow cooker chicken stock recipe.