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chicken stock questions

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yesterday i used up all my frozen chicken leftovers and bones and made stock. used a large onion, a few cloves, peppercorns, parsley, thyme, lots of celery, a carrot, a couple cloves of garlic, and bay leaves. broke up the bones.

the stock tastes wonderful, and i reduced it down by about 2/3 to make it easier to store (my freezer is literally smaller than a bread box).

here's the thing. although it tastes great, it turned a really ugly grey color. i skimmed all the schmutz off the top, but it just looks horrible. so two questions: is reducing it that much a bad idea? and how difficult is it to clarify stock? do you do it?

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    Professor Salt

    I don't think reducing it was your problem. As long as it tastes ok, you might be able to doctor the color, depending on how you're using it. Maybe saffron or turmeric to get a golden tone. If you're using it in gravy, you can probably add some browned bits from the roasting pan to color it.

    Coupla questions:
    1) How long were those leftover chicken parts sitting in the fridge? Freezer burned, grey chicken scraps will yield stock that looks the same color. Did you add fresh meat to the pot?

    2) By any chance, were you using a stockpot with a plain aluminum interior?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Professor Salt

      as far as i can tell the chicken was fine. it hadn't been sitting very long and it wasn't grey! actually, i thought the color might have been due to the bone marrow...?

      good question about the stockpot. it's an old pot i stole from my father's house. i think it's got a stainless interior, but i'll check again...

    2. did you pass the stock before reducing, or cook it down with all the sh*it? No need to wack up chix bones either btw. did ya boil it, or simmer? Pass through a chinois or equiv?

      No, reduction ain't bad, glace de volaille isn't used much though. If it's ugly to start with clarifying won't help much but, a couple of egg white, ground protein(chix), finely chopped mirepoix, cold stock-bring up and simmer letting raft form go until you feel good about it ;)

      3 Replies
      1. re: dano

        I agree with the others. Reducing, on it's own, doesn't make it gray or murky. However, if it is murky or gray to start with, then reducing will make it more pronounced.

        Like this poster mentioned, did you strain it carefully before reducing?

        Some other questions... did the stock ever get to a hard boil? or did it simmer nicely throughout? Sometimes a hard boil will stir up stuff into the stock that can't get out later.

        Finally, while the egg trick works for clarifying (thanks Julia Child) you do need to make sure you have a very fine cheesecloth/chinois (or better, both) otherwise you will have tiny bits of egg stuck in your stock. not good eats.

        1. re: adamclyde

          Julia Child doesn't have anything to do with consomme, just introduced technique to many. scrambled egg and an alton brown phrase makes me suspect but you get the idea.....

          1. re: dano

            I fully understand that she didn't the introduce method it to the world... she introduced it to *me* many years ago in one of her books (hence my personal thanks to her). it's worked wonderfully for me many times. The one time it didn't was when I wasn't using high quality cheesecloth, which is why I suggested that the poster do that, or it will result in little bits of egg mixed in with the stock...

      2. Your stock is murky because you broke up the bones. Try not to disturb the bones and always make the soup on a low simmer. Carefully take all ingredients out before reducing the stock. Straining the stock through a fine mesh or cheese cloth before reducing will also help.

        Margret

        1. Without actually seeing the stock, it sounds like you may have been stirring it while it cooked or let it come to a hard boil.

          I start with cold water and a cold pan. Add everything. Bring it up to a simmer/low boil.

          Skim once in a while, but don't stir. It will make it cloudy.

          1. thanks for the tips, folks. i definitely learned a few things for next time!