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Q&A for Simmering the Basic Stocks - Unit 2 Day 2


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never made it in the oven either, but I agree with what Alcuin said. If there's lots of bubbling, everything gets mixed around, low and slow gets you a clearer broth. And skimming the initial muck. I tend to forget, but an other good trick is to add all the aromatics a bit into the process, after you skimmed off all the gunk. If you want really clear broth, the old eggwhite thing works well.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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This is about the right amount of bubbling:

bloop ... bloop ... bloop ...

the bottom end of what you might call a simmer.

it's hard to take the temp of stock, because the gradient between the bottom and the top of a big pot can easily be 30 degrees or more.

Notes from the underbelly

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Of course, depending on what you are doing with the stock, "clear" might not really matter. I rarely worry much about it, keeping my stock below a full boil, but probably not quite at the low level that some books seem to recommend for various reasons, real and imagined. If you're making gravy with it, clarity isn't of much use!

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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I tend to forget, but an other good trick is to add all the aromatics a bit into the process, after you skimmed off all the gunk.

When I started making overnight stock, I found that vegetables -- aromatics, that is -- tend to get very bitter with long cooking. Leaving them out makes for a much cleaner tasting stock. If you really want their flavor, I'd add them only in the last couple of hours. Better yet, add whatever vegetables you want as you use your pure meat stock, instead of adding them to the stock itself.

Also, as Chris mentioned, I think clear stock is somewhat overrated. Sometimes it matters, but often it doesn't. I leave my stock on low on the stove, and from what I can tell, it stays around 195 or 200F. It's fine for my needs -- I don't make consomme or aspics.

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I tend to forget, but an other good trick is to add all the aromatics a bit into the process, after you skimmed off all the gunk.

When I started making overnight stock, I found that vegetables -- aromatics, that is -- tend to get very bitter with long cooking. Leaving them out makes for a much cleaner tasting stock. If you really want their flavor, I'd add them only in the last couple of hours. Better yet, add whatever vegetables you want as you use your pure meat stock, instead of adding them to the stock itself.

Also, as Chris mentioned, I think clear stock is somewhat overrated. Sometimes it matters, but often it doesn't. I leave my stock on low on the stove, and from what I can tell, it stays around 195 or 200F. It's fine for my needs -- I don't make consomme or aspics.

I make my stocks with only meat, since about 2 years ago. I prefer adding the vegetables, herbs and spices when I use the stock. Works out fairly well, as it's very versatile.

Tracy

Lenexa, KS, USA

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Of course, depending on what you are doing with the stock, "clear" might not really matter.

Well, there's a line of un-clearness that you never want to cross. It leads to a greasy, muddy mouthfeel. This happens when very small protein particles get bound up with emulsified fats. You may be able to fix it with some kind of filtration (gelatin, agar, something physical that's finer than a chinois) but I don't know if the result will be ideal.

I agree that anything below that level is just about esthetics, and may not matter. However, I'm never making stock for a single purpose. I make a pile of for many uses. I'm happier if it looks good enough for the uses that highlight it.

Notes from the underbelly

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  • 1 month later...

So I have 10 pounds of chicken hindquarters in my large pot. I stirred the pot because I kinda started with frozen pieces, which was probably my mistake as I had everything pretty well packed, and now my chicken pieces are floating half out of the water. No idea how to keep them in other than using a lid that's a couple inches smaller than the top of the stock pot...but it makes skimming difficult.

Argh.

Any suggestions? And the metal strainer won't work. All I have is a hand one.

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A tip I picked up was to take one of those collapsable steamer baskets, open it up, invert it, and put it on top like a "lid". It works. But I stopped doing it. The thing was a pain to clean. Also, I found that it got in the way of skimming.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Yeah, I don't have one of those either and the local K-Mart has closed for the evening. Too foggy to head to the town over.

I'm using the lid. As much as I hate to waste the cups of chicken fat I'm going to have if I could get it skimmed, I may just let all the crap come to the surface and when I get to the defatting stage just run the fat through cheesecloth, too.

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I plan to give it a good couple of strainings with cheese cloth anyway, so I figure that anything that is really horrible will get caught in that.

I'm using the lid to keep the chicken to the bottom of the pot, the pot is staying at around 205 (according to my handy, dandy candy/frying thermometer that I've clipped to the side), and it's going very well.

We'll know how well when I wake up in the morning I guess.

If I did want to save the schmaltz, would straining it through cheesecloth work? I mean, this is a lot. These quarters were fatty. I really don't want to waste it as I have this vision of smashed potatoes fried in schmaltz... :wub:

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If I did want to save the schmaltz, would straining it through cheesecloth work? I mean, this is a lot. These quarters were fatty. I really don't want to waste it as I have this vision of smashed potatoes fried in schmaltz... :wub:

Heat up the schmaltz separately until it stops bubbling to drive out all the moisture, decant into a measuring cup and wait for it to cool down and for the particles to settle out, then pour the top 90% into a bottle and leave the impurities in the cup.

PS: I am a guy.

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If I did want to save the schmaltz, would straining it through cheesecloth work? I mean, this is a lot. These quarters were fatty. I really don't want to waste it as I have this vision of smashed potatoes fried in schmaltz... :wub:

Heat up the schmaltz separately until it stops bubbling to drive out all the moisture, decant into a measuring cup and wait for it to cool down and for the particles to settle out, then pour the top 90% into a bottle and leave the impurities in the cup.

Where can I find how to get the schmaltz when making stock ?

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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If I did want to save the schmaltz, would straining it through cheesecloth work? I mean, this is a lot. These quarters were fatty. I really don't want to waste it as I have this vision of smashed potatoes fried in schmaltz... :wub:

Heat up the schmaltz separately until it stops bubbling to drive out all the moisture, decant into a measuring cup and wait for it to cool down and for the particles to settle out, then pour the top 90% into a bottle and leave the impurities in the cup.

Where can I find how to get the schmaltz when making stock ?

The schmaltz is just the fat. So when you let the strained stock cool, it will rise to the top, and if it's at refrigerator temperature, will be a nice solid block of fat. There's your schmaltz!

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My stock is cooling under my watchful eyes on the back porch right now. It's just above 32 degrees outside so it should go pretty quickly sitting there in the snow. I got most of the impurities out the first run through with cheesecloth so I'm not worried about it. The stock is the most beautiful golden shade of yellow I've ever seen. It can't be a bad thing. It was sitting at 190 for most of the night, but I think that made it even better. I have about 8 quarts that I'll reduce down to 1 or so.

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If I did want to save the schmaltz, would straining it through cheesecloth work? I mean, this is a lot. These quarters were fatty. I really don't want to waste it as I have this vision of smashed potatoes fried in schmaltz... :wub:

Heat up the schmaltz separately until it stops bubbling to drive out all the moisture, decant into a measuring cup and wait for it to cool down and for the particles to settle out, then pour the top 90% into a bottle and leave the impurities in the cup.

Where can I find how to get the schmaltz when making stock ?

The schmaltz is just the fat. So when you let the strained stock cool, it will rise to the top, and if it's at refrigerator temperature, will be a nice solid block of fat. There's your schmaltz!

So simple, so good....thanks

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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If I did want to save the schmaltz, would straining it through cheesecloth work? I mean, this is a lot. These quarters were fatty. I really don't want to waste it as I have this vision of smashed potatoes fried in schmaltz... :wub:

Heat up the schmaltz separately until it stops bubbling to drive out all the moisture, decant into a measuring cup and wait for it to cool down and for the particles to settle out, then pour the top 90% into a bottle and leave the impurities in the cup.

That's what I always did, too. Then, in MFK Fisher's How to Cook a Wolf, she suggested pouring the renderings into a jar then adding some water. The oil floats to the top leaving the water and the impurities at the bottom. Then I smacked myself on the head for not thinking of that. :raz:

Rhonda

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So I have 10 pounds of chicken hindquarters in my large pot. I stirred the pot because I kinda started with frozen pieces, which was probably my mistake as I had everything pretty well packed, and now my chicken pieces are floating half out of the water. No idea how to keep them in other than using a lid that's a couple inches smaller than the top of the stock pot...but it makes skimming difficult.

Argh.

Any suggestions? And the metal strainer won't work. All I have is a hand one.

My sister usually puts everything into a cloth mesh bag or cheesecloth before setting into the stockpot. Not too tightly packed, otherwise the core stays cold far longer... The whole business is easy to remove at the end of the simmering time, and a good portion of the "scum" sticks to the cloth.

We don't bother skimming. Pour the stock into wide-mouth jars to cool, and the fat rises into the bottle neck for easy removal.

Karen Dar Woon

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I just finished poaching six chickens, total weight just over 29 pounds. Did the work in clumsy ways and, thus, washed too many pots, bowls, and tools, and hands are just now recovering!

I poached the chickens two at a time in a 12 quart Vollrath stainless steel stock pot.

I started with 12 pounds of mirepoix of 6 pounds of diced yellow globe onions and 3 pounds each of diced onion and carrot. Poached at 185 F until vegetables were soft, about 3 hours, strained, discarded the solids, returned the resulting vegetable stock to the pot, added two chickens, feet up, covered with water, and poached.

When these two chickens were done, did two more in the same pot and stock, then the last two.

Note: Chickens give up some liquid and, as keep poaching chickens the level of liquid in the pot rises!

When the chickens floated, they were about done! So, I didn't try to hold them under the liquid.

I never skimmed the stock. I did let it stand, chilled, then covered and chilled for four days. Then had a fat cap of about 2 C of fat. Removed that. The rest was a nice clear red except for cloudy sediment in the bottom.

I heated to sterilize, filtered through cloth, and poured into 5 quart stainless steel bowls with narrow bottoms that let the sediment concentrate to smaller diameter, let these bowls chill until gelled, then removed the gelled stock with a kitchen spoon.

From the sediment, had about 2 C of cloudy stock never could get to separate and, then, just discarded.

The rest of the stock was red but clear. Reduced it. During the reduction did get a thin, brittle film on the surface which I removed with a standard stock skimming tool.

Used some of the stock for 7 quarts of chicken soup, with 8 pounds of new mirepoix and 2 pounds of chicken, and reduced the rest to a syrup of 2 C, now frozen in three blocks in a freezer bag.

I need to work on the steps, flavors, timing, measurements of yield, and a standard reduction, i.e., known number of pounds of mirepoix and chicken per cup of reduced stock.

The resulting reduced stock can be useful in a kitchen: E.g., with three ice cubes of reduced stock from an earlier trial, made a pan sauce for a NY Strip Sirloin steak: Over low heat with only a little olive oil, cooked about 3/4 pound of wide rings of yellow globe onion. Removed. Cooked the steak with a lot of pepper and removed. Deglazed the pan with about 1 C of good Chianti wine and the cubes of stock. Reduced to a syrup. Added 2 T of butter and combined with the onions and some drained, canned mushroom slices. With the steak and some toast, it was good!

With a standard, reduced stock, can be more precise about such a recipe.

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello all,

New member here so be kind. I have a question about the first chicken stock I made last night. When I checked it this morning in the fridge, it had a layer of fat on it as expected. I proceeded to scrape it off only to find the whole of the underneath to be a gelatinous mess. Anything I can do to save this? Any ideas of what went wrong?

Thanks

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nothing went wrong! in fact, everything went right! a gelatinous stock is a beautiful thing, with a rich, lovely mouth-feel and great body. scoop some out, and heat it up. you will see that it will melt...well, like jello in a saucepan! taste for seasoning, and use for whatever purpose you made it for. congratulations on a well-made stock!

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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