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What should one be saving for stock?


Mang
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4. a little salt does help (by increasing the dielectric constant of the solution, thereby aiding the extraction of hydrophilic flavour compounds - sorry)

I had the feeling salt added something else than saltyness to stock but did not have the guts to mention it without being able to explain it. Could someone offer more explanation or a reference on this? I quickly browsed McGee's brick but did not find anything.

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I would expect salted water to extract less flavor from the food than salt-free water.

One of the reasons to salt water for boiling vegetables is to increase the ion concentration of the water so less of the nutrients from the veggies get extracted into it.

Notes from the underbelly

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One of the reasons to salt water for boiling vegetables is to increase the ion concentration of the water so less of the nutrients from the veggies get extracted into it.

That is true for the fat-soluble nutrients only. Hydrophobic vitamins (like A, D, E and K) will stay in the food while the hydrophilics (like the B's and C) get more fully extracted as the saltiness (polarity) increases.

Stock is mostly water (from the tap) with a lipid layer on top (from the carcass). Molecules which contribute to flavor will wind up in both layers, but the salty water helps get those savory compounds (eg. glycine and glutamate salts) out of the tissue in the first place.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Well, after reading about ions and glutamates and the intricacies of salting stock, I feel this would be a good time to add that when I make stock at my restaurant, I use the "goo" at the bottom of the fish tubs that comes from my blanched chicken wings -- pure gelatinous goodness.

Rico

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Well, after reading about ions and glutamates and the intricacies of salting stock, I feel this would be a good time to add that when I make stock at my restaurant, I use the "goo" at the bottom of the fish tubs that comes from my blanched chicken wings -- pure gelatinous goodness.

This topic is getting more and more interesting!

I always wondered what this "goo" was made of... it does not look like blood. Anyone knows the answer?

And about the ions... how exactly do they help? I am still a bit confused.

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Interesting! I've noticed that adding salt earlier in my stock does result in a "tastier" stock, but I might be imagining things. I wish I knew more about molecular gastronomy. As for fat absorbing vitamins and flavors, some advocate keeping the fat cap on the stock until refrigeration for more flavor. However, by keeping the fat cap on longer, more flavors would wind up in the fat, and since the fat is going to be discarded anyways, wouldn't that wind up making the stock less flavorful?

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And about the ions... how exactly do they help? I am still a bit confused.

Salty water has more polarity than plain water (which is polar too, just less so). Flavor molecules with a charge are drawn out more by the salty water. This is the principle behind chemical chromatography - more charge means more extraction.

Of course all that really matters is what the stock tastes like in the end. Too salty doesn't taste good - who cares what got extracted if you're gagging.

I believe I get better, tastier results with a bit of salt in the mix from the outset. It is, however, a lot easier to add salt just before consumption than it is to reduce saltiness (by dilution)

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Every summer my friend Ian and I hold a paella party in my back yard (see the paella thread for pics). I'm in charge of the stock, and we need lots of it since we make a HUGE paella. I save chicken carcasses from meals for months, throwing them in the freezer, meat and all. Then, a day before the party, I get out the stock pot, briefly cook some onions, celery, carrots, and bay leafs in a splash of oil. I find this first step makes for a richer stock. Then I throw in some peppercorns, all the chicken bits, and lots of water. I let it cool all day, then let it cool, and spend a great deal of time straining it. This makes for a very cloudy, unrefined, but damn tasty stock. It is sometimes so rich that it jells. It all gets used in the paella.

For more fancy cooking, I'll be much pickier about what goes in the stock, just using the bones.

Now, I just took a Thai cooking class. The teacher had some large, bone-in chicken breasts. The first thing we did was bone them, then take the bones and put them in water to boil. She insisted that in oriental cooking no vegetables are added to the stock. Anyway, the bones simmered in the small pot for about an hour. We then drained off the stock and used it in our Tom Yum soup. So you don't have to get fancy when making stock.

Paul B

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  • 2 weeks later...

Couple things:

As for the question about the leftover scraps: Our dogs love, love, love the meat scraps from stock bones mushed up with the spent carrots! If I start making stock when they're out of the room, as soon as it comes to a simmer and creates aroma, they are both in the kitchen begging. They love the stuff so much, I actually take the time to hand pull any remaining meat from the bones for them. With them both at my feet, drooling. I keep the stuff in a tupperware in the fridge and one pot's worth usually lasts for a couple days as a treat added to their food.

I always use a tiny bit of salt, just because I like to taste the broth for flavor halfway through to see if I need more carrots, parsnips, onions, etc. or if I should reduce to concentrate a weak flavor. I find I can't judge the taste right without at least a bit of salt (plus then when I reduce it, it's usually perfectly salty, if not a bit shy of that).

And if you're new at this, no one has mentioned the great tactic of freezing the stock in ice cube trays for smaller portions for pan sauces and the like. I also vacuum seal the stock once it's frozen to prevent any freezer burn.

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  • 5 months later...

Well, 5 months later and I'm making stock!

I followed the eCGI stock steps pretty much to the letter, but I had to adjust things to fit my 8qt stock pot (only one I have at the moment).

I cleaned and halved the celery and carrots, quartered a red, white and yellow onion (all large), threw in 4 large whole legs (cut at the joint), covered with cold water and brought to a simmer.

Simmered and skimmed for about 9 hours - about 1/4 of the water had reduced. I then got rid of as much of the solids as possible and tossed it into the fridge to let the fat collect.

Tomorrow I reduce ;)

I am wondering a couple things though:

A) The broth smelled and looked great, but was quite bland - I did not add salt as I plan on reducing quite a bit. Will the flavor improve after reducing? About how much should I reduce?

B) My entire 8qt pot was filled to the brim at the beginning. I'm not quite sure how much water I really started with. I do know that in the end I have just under 2 qts of broth. Sound about right?

Thanks much - these forums are so great.

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Stock is one of those things that salt REALLY brings to life.

Once you have reduced it and added some salt (add it gradually, as it's a thin liquid its easy to over season it), the salt will bring all of the flavours out, and you will see that the stock is now in a totally different league as to when it was unseasoned.

My only criticism is the lack of chicken - 4 whole legs seems like almost no chicken... I usually stuff as much chicken as I can fit into the pot. Also I like to roast half of the bones/meat I use in the stock, that way I get the best of both worlds (not too rich, but a nice caramelised undertone). I usually end up not with a stock, but a solid mass of gelatin the next day :-) lip-smacking goodness!

Edited by infernooo (log)
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Well, 5 months later and I'm making stock! 

I cleaned and halved the celery and carrots, quartered a red, white and yellow onion (all large), threw in 4 large whole legs (cut at the joint), covered with cold water and brought to a simmer.

A)  The broth smelled and looked great, but was quite bland - I did not add salt as I plan on reducing quite a bit.  Will the flavor improve after reducing?  About how much should I reduce?

B)  My entire 8qt pot was filled to the brim at the beginning.  I'm not quite sure how much water I really started with.  I do know that in the end I have just under 2 qts of broth.  Sound about right?

Thanks much - these forums are so great.

Hi,

As a general rule, I pack my stockpot with the bones and parts. I will then only add enough water to cover the parts by an inch.

My guess is that you may have to do a lot of reducing to achieve the flavor that you are looking for.

I would suggest that you begin saving bones in your freezer to collect a quantity that will mostly fill your stockpot.

Tim

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I've now made my 2nd batch using the method described in the Zuni Cafe cookbook. Both times it has made very nice gelatinous stock. I think it is a bit expensive as you use a whole chicken (although you do take off the breast meat) but the results are very good. She does recommend salting - I used 1 tsp for 4 qts of water. Also, she recommends simmering for 4 hours. I've done it for longer, and honestly don't think it improves. I have not tried reducing it yet as I've been making soups.

I think I'm going to start buying whole chickens to break down and reserve the thigh and breast meat, and use the rest for stock.

Tonight I'm going to try to clarify the stock further by using the freeze and thaw with filter method.

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Have you tried asked your local poultry dealer for chicken carcasses? The place where I usually shop when I'm going to do some fancy cooking sells them very cheap. If he has too few in store I top up with chicken wings and perhaps some feet.

First I cut all the bones into smaller pieces with a heavy kithen scissor. Then sometimes I brown the bones and veggies before cooking, sometimes not. Lastly simmer for perhaps three hours.

The freeze/thaw/filter method will produce very clear stock, but it will remove all the gelatin and reduce your yield quite a bit. I think skimming and straining is enough, unless you are going to serve the perfect consommé. I've never tried the raft method for clarification, but that is the traditional way of doing it (ground meat, egg whites are added to the stock, stock is simmered, impurities form a raft which is skimmed off, clears the stock while retaining flavour).

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I heard buying whole chickens is alot cheaper than buying parts. But what do you do with all that extra meat and parts? What do you do with the meat that's already been simmering in the pot for hours and hours? It seems like a waste to just throw it all away.

The meat is pretty much mush by the time it has simmered 1-2 plus hours. The flavor 'leaches' into the stock. The veggies are mushy too and also inedible.

Whole chickens usually are cheaper than parts. Sometimes on sale around here I can get good brand name chickens for 68 cents a pound on sale. I don't mind chopping up a fryer. I learned how to do it a long time ago and it's a worthy skill to have. For stock I sort of 'rough chop' the chicken, not seperating all the parts as I would if I were preparing it for a regular meal. I usually save the breast but everything else goes in the stock pot.

Some carrots, onions, celery, a few bay leaves and peppercorns and a little salt covered with water simmered for appx 2 hours your good to go!

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I just use necks, feet and any left over thigh/wing/leg bones (failing that, chicken frames/carcasses). Costs about AU$2kg on average (~US$1/lb). Much cheaper than using whole chickens, you don't waste the meat (at the end of the stock making process the chicken is basically spent and only good for trash/dogs). Not to mention you get a more gelatinous stock too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks for all the good info - I'm going to have another go at this soon.

My result was two beautiful containers of very bland brown jello. Still very useful, but nothing like what I was hoping for. I'm pretty sure I had too many veggies and not enough chicken (as suggested by others in this thread). I also think that I let it simmer for far too long resulting in some off flavors (onionish and rather sour).

Oh, and I'm going to get a larger stock pot - I used an 8qt (all I have) and I just wasn't able to stuff enough chicken into it.

Thanks!

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I save bits of chicken (wing-tips, backbones, necks, and carcasses from roast birds) in the freezer until I have enough for a big batch of stock. Like everyone else I chop up what I call The Usual Suspects (onion, carrot, celery, garlic), cover the chicken parts with cold water and bring to a simmer. I throw in some parsley, whole black peppercorns, a couple sprigs of thyme, a bay leaf or 2, but no salt.

This simmers away in my huge stockpot (restaurant size) for hours and hours before I strain out the vegs and by-now completely spent chicken. Then I reduce that stock (slowly) until it's very concentrated. After a night in the fridge I can scrape off the fat layer and begin the freezing process.

I freeze my concentrated stock in ice cube trays; store the cubes in big ziplock bags so you can just grab one, turn it into a cup of rich stock, and add to recipes. It's sort of a frozen bouillon cube. I figure, why freeze water when you don't have to? I've done this for years.

N.

Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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After strainning the stock, I add more water to the strained bones, this is called remoulage, a French term for "remoistening," a second extraction from the bones. I simmer this for 2 hours hours and strain. This second extraction liquid is what I use to start my next stock.

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10 % vegetables of the weight of the bones is a good starting point. Also if you do a long stock like a veal or beef, adding most (burnt onions for a beef stock can go in earlier) or usually all the veggies in the last hour will keep your veggies from turning to mush, dissolving into the stock and coulding it. You can only get so much flavor out of vegetables before the stock will begin to LOSE flavor.

M

NYC

"Get mad at them eggs!"

in Cool Hand Luke

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