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Chicken Stock


Akiko
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I make chicken stock using a variety of methods. I favor the oven method because I am basically lazy. If I don't get a chance to do all of the straining etc. right away, I just don't mess with the lid on the pot or open the oven. All is sterile. I have never had a problem.

I did run into a strange phenom not long ago. I was in my big Asian grocery and they had these packages of chicken backs etc. for making stock and they were really cheap. (This place has its own REAL burcher shop so I take it that they are also cutting up their own chickens and sell the unpopular pieces for stock.) So I bought a bunch and proceeded to make a big batch of stock. When I put the strained stock into the fridge to defat... the fat never congealed!!! Do they raise polyunsaturated chickens especially for Asian markets? Weird.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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As for salt, last weekend I made two batches of stock, each using four pounds of legs and two quarts of water.

What did you do with the legs once the stock was done?

Um, I threw 'em out. They probably still had a little flavor, but I feel like I get my money's worth.

Most recently, I bought ten pounds of whole legs (thigh + drumstick) for $1.90. From these I get 10 cups of great stock. Not counting my time, but adding some for the onion (omit the wine as my peccadillo; I'm not convinced anymore that it makes a huge difference, and you could certainly leave it out and still have a superior product) this stock cost me about 2-1/2 cents per ounce. A can of commercial broth is about ten cents per ounce. Even at the going rate of 69 cents for drumsticks, this stock is less expensive than canned.

At this rate, I can buy a fresh chicken for soup and still come out ahead. I'm cheap, but I'm not that cheap. And I don't want to pick through all the skin and bones for the meat. I am that lazy.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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last weekend I made two batches of stock, each using four pounds of legs and two quarts of water.

What did you do with the legs once the stock was done?

Um, I threw 'em out. They probably still had a little flavor, but I feel like I get my money's worth.

A cooking instructor I know once made the comment that making stock is a process of transferring all the flavor from the solids to the liquid, and that if you've made your stock correctly, the chicken parts you've used will have virtually no flavor left. Before I heard that, I used to try to salvage as much meat as I could from the carcass, but now I think it's a waste of time. I also no longer use whole chickens for stock -- I use backs (which my butcher sells frozen).

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I, too, use backs. Really, really cheap, work great.

Whatever I've done, the single most important technique I've employed is to soak the bones in ice water for a good while before adding them to the stock pot to simmer, up to a couple of hours, changing the water often. Making a white (veal, or chicken) stock, I find that without this process, the skimming/clarifying process during the simmer is much more laborious, as the bones are much more productive of impurities (albumin, blood, etc.).

With brown stocks (at least those where I've roasted bones, unlike FL), not a problem, as fats/proteins are kicked off with the roast and pour off prior to deglazing.

-Paul

 

Remplis ton verre vuide; Vuide ton verre plein. Je ne puis suffrir dans ta main...un verre ni vuide ni plein. ~ Rabelais

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  • 6 years later...

I made my first chicken stock yesterday in anticipation of the return of hot soup season. I used Barbara Tropp's method from Modern Chinese Cooking, but leaving out the ginger, so I can use it with dishes from varying cuisines. I broke up a raw chicken myself, and threw in the feet, neck, legs, and back, but drew the line at including the head, and that went into the bin. I didn't roast or brown them first, just covered them with water and threw in the bottom of a smashed chinese leek. The recipe didn't call for any salt, so three hours of simmering later, I have a nice, relatively clear, extremely chicken-y stock without the sodium-intense flavour I usually associate with commercial stock. Ms. Tropp suggests that the stock be salted once it's been added to the final recipe, which seems easily enough done. The yield after using a very small chicken was about four cups of stock - I have frozen some and kept aside the rest for soup. It was hardly any work at all once I got through the chicken with my cleaver. I'm not sure why I never made it before, come to think of it. I guess I'd been pretty skeptical of all the pallid home-made "chicken soup" I ate when I was younger, made with leftover carcasses from roast chickens. Is there a difference between stocks made with fresh bones and ones made with already cooked bones?

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Is there a difference between stocks made with fresh bones and ones made with already cooked bones?

Hi,

Fresh bones yield white stock with fresher, lighter flavor that you properly describe as chickeny. Much of this flavor is from the meat. Uncooked bones also provide less color to the stock with less gelatin. This is an excellent soup base.

You may use these same bones to make a second run of stock. The second run will have more color, more gelatin and less chicken flavor. It will have more mouthfeel and umami.

Cooked or browned bones are used to make a brown stock. These have a richer flavor with less chicken flavor.

Tim

Tim

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Nuts! I've already pitched the bones! Well, the stock did provide an excellent soup base, and I'll know next time. I was expecting a more yellow colour to my stock, and it was quite light.

The second run will have more color, more gelatin and less chicken flavor. It will have more mouthfeel and umami.

What uses do you put your second-run stock to?

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Fresh bones yield white stock with fresher, lighter flavor that you properly describe as chickeny. Much of this flavor is from the meat. Uncooked bones also provide less color to the stock with less gelatin. This is an excellent soup base.

You may use these same bones to make a second run of stock. The second run will have more color, more gelatin and less chicken flavor. It will have more mouthfeel and umami.

Funny, I made a nice dark chicken stock the other day, then decided I should reuse the bones to make more stock. I figured there would still be some flavour left since I only simmered the first batch for a few hours. The second batch (using less water--I did it in a slow cooker overnight) was much lighter, but still had a chicken-y smell (I didn't taste them).

I combined the two batches. Was that a mistake?

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I have been making chicken stock in a pressure cooker. The only down side is that in a 6 qt pressure cooker I can only manage to get maybe 8 cups of stock. I save all trimmings from chicken like backs, wing tips, thigh bones after boning thighs, necks and any trimmings from cleaning BSCB.

The parts go in with onion, carrot and celery and cook under pressure for one hour. The meat is has lost all flavor to the stock. The bones crumble if squeezed. The stock when cooled has the most gelatinous texture compared to all other methods I've ever used. The stock has more flavor compared to my other methods.

Because it's so easy I can make it more often and have even made it on the spot for soup if I didn't have any in the freezer.

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Limitless various on how you make stock. For me, slow cooker, roasted bones/meats (chicken, beef, pork, ect) on low is a fool proof way of making good stock.

It took me a long time to learn that to make rich stock you have to add a lot of the bones/meat. I made a mistake for a long time of too much water.

The current challenge for me is what part of the animal makes the best stock and where do I source it at a reasonable price. I've been adding chicken feet and it give my chicken stock a much more rich mouth feel. Someone has suggested split pigs feet does the same. My favorite ingrident for stock, ox tail, is just very expensive. Would love to find chicken backs but I cannot seem to locate them.

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Funny, I made a nice dark chicken stock the other day, then decided I should reuse the bones to make more stock. I figured there would still be some flavour left since I only simmered the first batch for a few hours. The second batch (using less water--I did it in a slow cooker overnight) was much lighter, but still had a chicken-y smell (I didn't taste them).

I combined the two batches. Was that a mistake?

Not a mistake at all. This technique is called "remouillage" and is a way of increasing the yield from a given quantity of bones. You still may want to reduce the total volume to whatever strength you desire, or based on how much freezer space you have.

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I have been making chicken stock in a pressure cooker. The only down side is that in a 6 qt pressure cooker I can only manage to get maybe 8 cups of stock. I save all trimmings from chicken like backs, wing tips, thigh bones after boning thighs, necks and any trimmings from cleaning BSCB.

The parts go in with onion, carrot and celery and cook under pressure for one hour. The meat is has lost all flavor to the stock. The bones crumble if squeezed. The stock when cooled has the most gelatinous texture compared to all other methods I've ever used. The stock has more flavor compared to my other methods.

Because it's so easy I can make it more often and have even made it on the spot for soup if I didn't have any in the freezer.

I second the pressure cooker method... I use backs, necks, wing tips, feet when I can get them and then fill the pot with cold water... I then bring to a boil uncovered, and skim the scum that forms... once the impurities stop coming up, I add the onion, carrot and celery in big pieces, plus I throw in a small handful of peppercorns, a pinch of dried thyme and maybe 10 parsley stems. Cover and simmer under full pressure for about an hour... I then turn off the heat and let it cool slowly until the pressure reduces to normal - the result is rich and gelatinous, but also crystal clear.

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I have been making chicken stock in a pressure cooker. The only down side is that in a 6 qt pressure cooker I can only manage to get maybe 8 cups of stock. I save all trimmings from chicken like backs, wing tips, thigh bones after boning thighs, necks and any trimmings from cleaning BSCB.

The parts go in with onion, carrot and celery and cook under pressure for one hour. The meat is has lost all flavor to the stock. The bones crumble if squeezed. The stock when cooled has the most gelatinous texture compared to all other methods I've ever used. The stock has more flavor compared to my other methods.

Because it's so easy I can make it more often and have even made it on the spot for soup if I didn't have any in the freezer.

I second the pressure cooker method... I use backs, necks, wing tips, feet when I can get them and then fill the pot with cold water... I then bring to a boil uncovered, and skim the scum that forms... once the impurities stop coming up, I add the onion, carrot and celery in big pieces, plus I throw in a small handful of peppercorns, a pinch of dried thyme and maybe 10 parsley stems. Cover and simmer under full pressure for about an hour... I then turn off the heat and let it cool slowly until the pressure reduces to normal - the result is rich and gelatinous, but also crystal clear.

KennethT, I don't skim. Just add cold water, cover and walk away. The scum seems to attach to the bottom of the cooker. The stock is quite clear. Not crystal clear but clearer than the stuff in the carton.

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  • 7 months later...

I discovered my posh local supermarket sells chicken carcasses stripped for 8 kuai - around $1. That, combined with a pack of chicken feet should make for some decent stock. I'm trying to figure how to best store it, though. I don't want to put it into ice cubes, since I usually use stock for either a risotto or a soup. But I don't want to use up all my plastic containers, either. Is it crazy to put into ziploc freezer bags once it's cooled?

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I discovered my posh local supermarket sells chicken carcasses stripped for 8 kuai - around $1. That, combined with a pack of chicken feet should make for some decent stock. I'm trying to figure how to best store it, though. I don't want to put it into ice cubes, since I usually use stock for either a risotto or a soup. But I don't want to use up all my plastic containers, either. Is it crazy to put into ziploc freezer bags once it's cooled?

Not crazy at all, just make sure when you store the ziplocks that they don't get banged around. That causes holes in the bag that leak when you are thawing.

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I'm trying to figure how to best store it, though. I don't want to put it into ice cubes, since I usually use stock for either a risotto or a soup. But I don't want to use up all my plastic containers, either. Is it crazy to put into ziploc freezer bags once it's cooled?

The bags work fine, but also remember that you don't have to freeze it at full strength. I make stock, reduce it to a quarter of its original volume and freeze it in one-ounce portions (I have ice cube trays whose "cubes" each hold an ounce so it's easy for me). Then, each cube makes half a cup of stock when reconstituted, which for me is the most useful amount to thaw at a time. If I want a cup of stock it's two cubes, etc. Takes up a lot less room in the freezer.

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The bags work fine, but also remember that you don't have to freeze it at full strength. I make stock, reduce it to a quarter of its original volume and freeze it in one-ounce portions (I have ice cube trays whose "cubes" each hold an ounce so it's easy for me). Then, each cube makes half a cup of stock when reconstituted, which for me is the most useful amount to thaw at a time. If I want a cup of stock it's two cubes, etc. Takes up a lot less room in the freezer.

Great tip. My freezer's pretty small, so conserving space is important for me. I don't really freeze anything other than ice cubes and stock, but even still. Like I said, I mostly use my stock for soups and risotto, so I usually don't mind thawing a whole lot of it at once, but lately I've been using stock to finish stir-fried vegetables, so having cubes would be handy. The main problem for me: ice cube trays. I have exactly one, which is purposed for ice. Apparently, in China people think iced drinks are bad for your qi, so they're not readily available in every shop. I guess I'll have to make a run out to one of the big supermarkets.

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I know this is an old thread but I have learned a bunch. Thanks to all.

I tried buying those 8 oz. throwaway cups and freezing them then vacuum sealing. Waste of time compared to putting 1 o2 cups in a 1 qt Ziploc, void the air, and freezing it flat.

I did my last batch of chix last week. 10# of wings, cleavered them up and made about a gallon. Did it about 3 hours in the oven. If I had some red food coloring , sugar and marshmallows I could go to a mid-west potluck. [Actually remember them from childhood in Missouri].

I do my veal stock in the oven but I think the taste of chicken any more than 3 maybe 4 hours starts to loose that fresh taste and I guess i don't care for that. Also though, I have never reduced any stock down to 25%. Not sure I know how.

Edited by RobertCollins (log)

Robert

Seattle

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