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Q&A -- Straining, defatting and reducing Unit 3


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In re to the defatting...  I'd like to mention that there is no reason whatsoever not to take the skimmed fat, boil it with a little water to clean it up a bit, separate it from the dirty water using a defatting pitcher and store it in the freezer for future use. 

And I'd like to mention, as anyone who's ever been to Sammy's Roumanian can attest, that rendered chicken fat (aka "schmaltz") is a good all-purpose condiment that goes well with just about anything. :smile:

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I have reduced my chicken stock by about half and placed a portion in the fridge. It didn't gel. Did I not reduce enough or did I really mess something up?

Beef stock is tonight. I took a cup or so of the chicken stock out and made a simple soup from it. It was wonderful! Thanks for guiding me through a process I should have tried a long time ago. Too bad I already tossed out the chicken fat instead of rendering it.

9 out of 10 dentists recommend wild Alaska salmon.

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I have reduced my chicken stock by about half and placed a portion in the fridge. It didn't gel. Did I not reduce enough or did I really mess something up?

Give it a few more hours and report back. If it still hasn't set up, we'll go through a debugging process. But it might just not have been in there long enough. Some fridges are slow.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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FG and Carolyn-

Thank you so much for these great sessions. I cannot wait to transform my 4+ lbs of chicken carcasses and bones in the freezer to a wonderful reduced stock this weekend. I was wonderig though, do you have an approximate ratio for how much reduced stock (cubes or Tbsp) per gallon, quart or cup of water you would use for something like the thai vegetable soup you demonstrated?

Thanks

FM

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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can i simmer in the oven (i've never tried it before)?

If you've ever braised a brisket or anything like that, you have tried it before. It's essentially the same process. I would suggest starting on the stovetop to get through the skimming phase, and then putting the vessel in an oven at whatever is a little bit below the braising temperature that works for you -- in other words you want to create the same surface characteristics that you try to achieve in a stovetop stock. The advantages of using the oven are 1) it frees up the stovetop if your needs require the stovetop but not the oven, and 2) for long term unattended cooking it's more stable; with a stovetop stock, as evaporation occurs and there's less volume you'll either have to turn down the flame or the rate of simmering may start increasing and eventually be too high, whereas in the oven once you've established the right simmering temperature you can just dial it in and not worry. Still, I never do it this way -- I can't fit my large stockpots in the oven.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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As we are drawing to the close of the lesson (do feel free to keep asking questions, of course), I'd like to make a few requests:

1. Keep on posting those photos. They're very helpful, I think, to the rest of the group.

2. It would be great if somebody would volunteer to add a "further reference" section at the end of this thread. It would list 1) all the stockmaking threads elsewhere on eGullet, 2) stockmaking resources elsewhere on the Web, and 3) good books that discuss stockmaking. Might we have a volunteer to put that together? I could help out, but since I'm on the road all week I don't have access to all the resources I'd need to do it right.

3. PM the eGCI team members (Monica Bhide in particular -- she can distribute to the rest) with your comments, good or bad, on this lesson, and with any suggestions for how you'd like to see the eGCI style develop.

4. Spread the word -- the eGCI is a great way for those who aren't necessarily comfortable with Web discussion forums to get their feet wet in a more controlled environment than the "Wild West" of the boards at large. Those who missed these lessons can catch up anytime -- we're not going anywhere and neither is this archive.

Thanks.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I hate to argue with the teacher but I'm under the impression that it is dangerous to put hot foods into the fridge, this is especially true if you have a large stockpot that will raise the temperature of the fridge and create a happy environment for bacteria. It is far better to cool the hot stock down rapidly by placing the stockpot in a sink full of ice and then if necessary put it in the fridge to allow the fats to solidify.

Alternatively, split the stock into several smaller containers so that they cool down more rapidly.

"Why would we want Children? What do they know about food?"

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I hate to argue with the teacher but I'm under the impression that it is dangerous to put hot foods into the fridge, this is especially true if you have a large stockpot that will raise the temperature of the fridge and create a happy environment for bacteria. It is far better to cool the hot stock down rapidly by placing the stockpot in a sink full of ice and then if necessary put it in the fridge to allow the fats to solidify.

Alternatively, split the stock into several smaller containers so that they cool down more rapidly.

Technically, you are correct.

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I gotta tell you guys, I have been making stock for a lot of years but my stock is just about to get better! I think I have learned a much better way to do the chicken stock. I never thought of using whole chickens before, then swiping the breast meat. That is brilliant! I also think that I haven't been using enough mirepoix. And who knew about saving the fat?

Well... This has been a couple of days of DUH!

I do have a question? Have any of you ever run into "polyunsaturated" chicken? I sometimes get chicken carcasses at the Asian grocery. They package them up for stock making and they are really cheap. The only thing is, the fat doesn't harden in the fridge, and I keep my fridge COLD. When I use grocery store chicken, this never happens. What's up with that?

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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Okay, so here's my progress report.

I reduced my chicken stock tonight, and finished at a much more civilized hour than last night.

When I took it out of the fridge, it looked like this:

fb78581c.jpg

And here's how it looked after I spooned out as much fat as I could be bothered to spoon out:

fb785819.jpg

Then I reduced it for a few hours. Here's a shot of my stock at the end of its reduction:

fb785817.jpg

I moved it to a smaller pot so I could better tell how much I had left. I figure I ended up with between 1.25 and 1.5 quarts. I think this was a more than 3x reduction, but going by color and taste, I'm guessing that my 6 hour stock wasn't as strong before reduction as the Fat Guy's.

I then filled up my only ice trays with the stuff and put the rest in the fridge in baby bottles. These bottles are small, come with accurate measuring marks, and they seal well, so why not? If you got 'em, use em. (I also understand that this method of storing stock-- in several small containers-- is in keeping with the latest eGCI health advisory! :smile:)

Here's a shot of my newfound, impressive stock reserve:

fb785418.jpg

I want to thank the instructors again. This has been lots of fun, and I can't wait for Carolyn's sauces.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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So, after work, I look into the fridge and poke the chicken stock container and thought " Crap! It didn't set. I'm going to be the only kid in class with a total failure! I am so ashamed."

I then took the offender out of the fridge and popped the top to give it the evil eye and... duh, it is gel. It's just a very jiggly gel. Color me relieved.

My brown stock is set to simmer the night away and it looks pretty good. I went with the simpler route and roasted the lot. I have been taking lots of photos and will post them tomorrow.

My question is this: You mentioned that deglazing the roasting pan would be a bad idea as the fat from this process is sort of rank. When I was done roasting, I had a significant amount of liquid (maybe should have roasted more?) which I, uh, dumped in the pot. Should I have not done this? It just seemed like good stuff.

9 out of 10 dentists recommend wild Alaska salmon.

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When I was done roasting, I had a significant amount of liquid (maybe should have roasted more?) which I, uh, dumped in the pot. Should I have not done this? It just seemed like good stuff.

I had exactly the same - the meat on my roasted bones did not look anywhere near as dark as FG's, and his pic did not show any liquid, so I think I also under-roasted somewhat. The end result still seemed fine, if slightly lighter than expected.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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If I can add a little hint of my own.. I always include parsley in my stocks. What I do is, when I buy parsley I pluck all the leaves off the stems, rinse them, spin them dry, lay them in more or less a single layer on a length of paper towel, roll up the paper towel, put the roll into a large ziplock bag and store in the refrigerator. I have been able to keep really good, fresh parsley from the Greenmarket in primo condition for up to three weeks this way. Getting back to stocks... I take the stems and thrown them in the 2 gallon ziplock bag I use to keep chicken bones in the freezer until I have accumulated enough to make stock. This way, I already have all the parsley stems I could possibly want when it comes time to make some chicken stock.

--

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FG and Carolyn-

Thank you so much for these great sessions. I cannot wait to transform my 4+ lbs of chicken carcasses and bones in the freezer to a wonderful reduced stock this weekend. I was wonderig though, do you have an approximate ratio for how much reduced stock (cubes or Tbsp) per gallon, quart or cup of water you would use for something like the thai vegetable soup you demonstrated?

Thanks

FM

I guess this question was missed so here it goes again.

FM

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Sorry Foodman, I'm not ignoring you, I've just been on the road without access to my kitchen. I'll try to figure out a ratio or at least some guidelines when I'm back in reach of measuring cups. I owe a few other answers here as well and will get to them soon. Thanks again, all.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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My stock looked exactly like SethG's at all three stages (I don't have a digital camera so I rely on the images of others :raz: )

I cooled it on the counter for around an hour, then moved it to the refrig. After nine hours in the frig, it is the consistency of, oh, somewhere between honey and maple syrup. Both my chicken and beef. Do you think it will set up more while I'm at work today? Foam Pants, how long did it take yours to set up?

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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I cooled it on the counter for around an hour, then moved it to the refrig. After nine hours in the frig, it is the consistency of, oh, somewhere between honey and maple syrup. Both my chicken and beef. Do you think it will set up more while I'm at work today? Foam Pants, how long did it take yours to set up?

Well, I think that mine took at least nine hours, probably more. Plus, I live in a pretty cold climate so the stock cooled quickly on the counter as well. My chicken stock is not an incredibly strong gel so I think it took awhile.

9 out of 10 dentists recommend wild Alaska salmon.

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Sorry Foodman, I'm not ignoring you, I've just been on the road without access to my kitchen. I'll try to figure out a ratio or at least some guidelines when I'm back in reach of measuring cups. I owe a few other answers here as well and will get to them soon. Thanks again, all.

I did not mean to be pushy FG. I will now sit and wait patiently for my answer :biggrin:

Thanks

FM

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I cooled it on the counter for around an hour, then moved it to the refrig. After nine hours in the frig, it is the consistency of, oh, somewhere between honey and maple syrup. Both my chicken and beef. Do you think it will set up more while I'm at work today? Foam Pants, how long did it take yours to set up?

Well, I think that mine took at least nine hours, probably more. Plus, I live in a pretty cold climate so the stock cooled quickly on the counter as well. My chicken stock is not an incredibly strong gel so I think it took awhile.

For what it's worth, I put my chicken stock in the fridge last night around 9:00 p.m. It didn't change at all by the time I went to bed around midnight. This morning (about 10 or 11 hours after I put the stock in the fridge), I gave one of the containers a shake and it wiggled in a very jello-like fashion.

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

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I've got a query about stock storage based on the way I've done it in the past. I've made stocks of the variety described in the previous lessons, usually with roasted duck carcasses. Once I've got the pot full of stock, and skimmed most of the fat off, rather than cooling it down immediately in the fridge, I just boil it down to almost nothing... a full 8 quart stock pot of stock generally gets down to about 2 ramekins worth of reduction... which ramekins are then topped up with a layer of fat and stored in the fridge.

This has worked for me in the past, as it is a space saver and yields a wonderfully concentrated product. I've restored this stuff to usual strength to make a broth for risotto purposes and it has worked there, and a half spoonful in with some sauteeing veggies is a wonderful thing. What I don't know about is the textural issue with regard to sauces... will reconstituted stuff give the same mouthfeel as the pre-reduction stuff? Or is there a chemical point of no return on the path to glace?

Christopher D. Holst aka "cdh"

Learn to brew beer with my eGCI course

Chris Holst, Attorney-at-Lunch

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There are some consumer-level stockpots available that have spouts, but I don't recommend them. Too much can go wrong.

I don't know about that. I'd love to get my hands on one of these babies.

Homebrew supply stores sell cheap 5 gallon plastic tubs that have been fitted with a spout. (They're used to pour wort off from the mash and to bottle.) If kept clean, I assume they would work well to drain stock.

Also, as mentioned by Alton Brown, be carefull putting hot stock in a cold fridge. You'll likely end up with a warm fridge for the next few hours. And tons of condensation everywhere.

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Is there an issue with adding too much water? For example, I don't think I'd feel comfortable leaving the stock simmering all night unless the pot was pretty full at all times. I've got a pretty good range, the flame still varies. I assume that any "excess" water in the stock wont matter because it can just be simmered out, leaving the same amount of flavor?

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i've taken a load of pictures of my stockmaking but other than to show off my beautiful pentole stockpot and to prove that i've being doing as instructed i'm not sure there's much worth in me posting them here. but i'm willing to be persuaded...

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