Introduction: Slow Cooker Pork Stock
Having just obtained a slow cooker, and also having lived in Denver almost 4 years, I decided the first thing to make was obvious: green chili. In order to craft this marvelous medley of spicy, sour, and sweet, one must start, as with most great things in life, with a solid foundation. The foundation of this green chili is pork shoulder roast, [aka "pork butt," which is the term I'll be using henceforth, because...butts heheh] which I've made into a deliciously aromatic and versatile stock.
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Knife and Cutting Board
Sturdy Metal Tongs
Fine Mesh Strainer
Large Storage Container
Ingredients [Amounts will vary depending on the size of your slow cooker. This is based on a 6-quart model]:
1/2 Head Celery
4.25 lb Pork Butt
Step 1: Modified Mirepoix
A mirepoix [pronounced "meer-pwah"] is the traditional French base of many different stocks, broths, soups, etc. There are many variations, some having their own specific names, but the traditional combination is simply carrots, onions, and celery. I've added a couple oranges to the mixture because I think it goes very well with the pork butt. Feel free to get creative; you can add almost anything including apples, peppers, or even dried fruit. There are many options.
Trim the ends off your veggies and roughly chop them. I just cut the carrots and celery in half and quartered the onion and oranges.
There's no exact ratio or amounts for this recipe. It just depends on personal taste, the size of your slow cooker, and piece of meat.
While you're at it, get your slow cooker pre-heating on low.
Step 2: Into the Pool
Cover the bottom of your slow cooker with a layer of your mirepoix; this will act as a rack for the pork butt to prevent sticking or burning. Place your pork butt on top of your produce-rack, noting the location of any pieces of bone. Season the pork liberally with salt and pepper and fill the space around the pork with the rest of your mirepoix.
I used a 4.25 lb pork butt and it fit perfectly in my 6-quart cooker with just about an inch all the way around.
Fill to the brim with water, and cover. With all the ingredients inside, it took about six cups of water to fill my slow cooker.
Step 3: Wait
If your slow cooker doesn't have a timer, look at a time-telling device when you put the lid on and add 10-12 hours to the time you saw to figure out when your delicious food baby will be ready. Feel free to use a calculator.
This is, by far, the most difficult step.
Step 4: Straining
After you've waited for what seems an eternity, it's time to wait some more; Allow your slow cooker to cool at least half an hour before attempting to strain your stock.
Set up your mesh strainer over whatever container you'd like to store your stock in. I'm using an 8-cup Pyrex 'batter bowl.' Do this in a clean sink, as spills are likely, no matter how careful you are. Slow cooker ceramics are heavy.
Use your tongs to pull the perfectly-cooked pork out of the stock and put it in a separate container for later use.
You can make pulled pork sandwiches, burritos, or any number of things with this ambrosia.
You remembered the bone, right?
Now you can pour the remaining liquid through the strainer. You'll end up with a bit less than the amount of water you added at the beginning, so plan your receiving vessel accordingly.
The vegetables can be tossed in your compost or trash. They've given their all. Now is the opportunity to perform any funerary rituals or traditions you wish to honor their sacrifice. I chose whiskey.
Step 5: Stock, Finally!
And it was well with the wait. I hope you attempt this recipe at home and delight in the rich, velvety decadence a homemade stock can bring to a dish.
Please share your variations or ideas, and let me know how yours turns out!
Here's my recipe for green chili made using this stock:
Thanks for reading, and please remember to vote for me in the first-time author contest!