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Jan 11, 2006 02:27 PM

making stock from carcasses?

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i've begun making zuni roasted chicken on a weekly basis and have a few of the ravaged carcasses in the freezer. could i make a stock out of these? how many per quart? how long should i let it simmer?

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  1. That's what they are for. Probably 1 carcus per gallon of water. Toss in a cut up carrot, rib or two of celery cut up, an onion quartered, some parsely stems, maybe a few black peppercorns. Bring to a boil and them simmer for 45 minutes, maybe an hour. If any "scum" rises to the surfact, just skim it off. Once done, strain, cool and refrigerate. The next day the layer of fat on it should be solid so that you can skim it off. Freeze in the form of your choice, anything from cubes to pint or quart containers.

    You could also roast the carcuse along with the veggies until somewhat carmalized and then put in the water. Gives you a darker stock.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Monty

      I wouldn't try to estimate the water-to-carcass ratio before you get the carcasses into the pot.

      Cut each carcass into a few pieces so they don't take up too much space in the pot. Then pour enough water to just come to the top of them - they don't need to be completely submerged either. You can, but if you do, do so just barely. This will result in a nice, more fully flavored stock.

      1. re: adamclyde

        I agree, one can always add more water if the stock is too concentrated. Also, instead of watching the clock, I don't consider the stock done until the carcass collapses from the collagen in the joints dissolving into the brew. That's where you get the rich texture and the true taste of the bones.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          ...and while we're tossing out tips here, something I've only just learned after doing this for mmm, mmmmany years is to put just the carcasses in the water, bring it slowly to the boil, skim the scum, turn it to simmer, keep skimming, and THEN put in your onion, celery, bouquet garni or whatever. A little hassle, but you get all the trash out first and don't keep inadvertently removing things like the celery tops and that bay leaf along with the scum.

          I usually have a store of leftover necks and tails and skin in the freezer as well, and often some trimmed-out backbones. Not having the need to keep kosher, I also keep a stock of pork skin and bones to add, too - old Chinese trick I read about somewhere.

          1. re: Will Owen

            I take your idea one step further. I tend to simmer my stock for 4 to 8 hours to get all of the collagen out as Melanie suggested, yet I have found that the vegetable flavors can get kinda funky tasting if they are boiled for that long (especially the celery). So I simmer just the bones and only when they appear to be breaking down do I add the vegetables. Sometimes I'll even strain the bones out first and then resimmer with the vegetables. They only need 30 minutes, at most an hour, to give up all their flavor into the liquid.


            1. re: nja

              That's a good idea. The other thing I find that improves the flavor from the vegetables is to saute them before putting them in the pot. Not to brown unless you want the carmelized flavors, but get some high heat to soften and develop more flavor than you'll get by boiling. This makes the biggest difference for onions, just getting them to the soft but still a bit al dente but not browned brings out a lovely sweetness. Much better than adding raw onions to the pot and sometimes ending up with a pasty, uncooked starch taste they can sometimes impart.

              1. re: nja

                Or you can just omit the celery -- I hate stock that tastes of celery, which tends to overwhelm all the other flavors.

            2. re: Melanie Wong

              I save carcasses in the freezer, along with odds and ends of parsley, carrot and onion, and of course the hearts and necks of the chicken. If I want a particularly nice stock - for soup for friends, for example - I'll do it in the stockpot, with some backs or wings added, very gently, then clarify with an egg white and all that. For down-and-dirty stock, I use my crockpot, stuff everything in, cover with water, and let simmer all day. Then I strain it, let it sit overnight, and remove the fat. If it seems watery (because a crockpot is covered and doesn't allow the stock to reduce at all), I heat it up again and simmer it down a bit, but usually I don't need to, because I really stuff the bones into the pot. High carcass to water ratio + 12 hours of simmering = not very clear, but really tasty stock.

              I also add a tablespoon of vinegar to the pot, because supposedly that helps to leach calcium from the bones. No idea if it works, but it doesn't hurt.


              1. re: curiousbaker

                You might not need to clarify with an egg white if you use a Chinese technique called "chuet sui". This is especially important when using a raw carcass that hasn't been cooked before if you want to make a clean stock. Bring a pot of water to boil. Meanwhile, rinse the carcass or parts of blood or juices, pull off all visible fat. Boil the carcass in the water for a few minutes to seal the surfaces and bring up the scum and coagulated proteins. Then drain all the water, wash the pot, wash the carcass thoroughly of the scum. To be extra fastidious, you can do this parboiling and cleaning twice, but I rarely do. Then start your stock. We also do this to prep stew meat and the flavors turn out much clearer and cleaner. It sounds like a lot of work, but I find it easier and more reliable than repeated skimmings.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Here's a link to Yimster's recipe for clear broth brisket that describes the same method of prep. You really don't need to worry about losing flavor.


                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    This is exactly what my mother does when she makes Korean braised short ribs! She says my grandmother, if she could see her, would yell at her for throwing out all the flavor, but my mother says there's no difference in taste b/c short ribs are so intensely fatty.

                    I'm glad to hear my mother's method backed up!

          2. I like to supplement the carcasses with chicken/turkey necks and/or chicken feet to give the stock a more rich texture and to throw off additional meat. Of course, I get them for about 0.25/lb locally if not free.

            1. I jam them into the kettle with tops of celery, carrots or peelings, onions or onion skins, and more. Then I bring it to slow simmer and move one side of the kettle off the burner. All the scum comes to the slightly cooler side making it easier to skim. But keeping the temp at a slow simmer is what gives you a clear broth. More than 90 minutes and you get bone breakdown and bone flavor. Later after everything is removed you can reduce it down if necessary. Also I don't add but a tiny bit of salt until it's done.


              1. Somehow this thread has gone from making stock to clarifying a consomme. The standard ratio for chicken stock and most others is as follows:

                8# bones
                6 qts water
                1# mirepoix

                Chicken stock simmers at a lazy bubble for 4 to 5 hours
                For a brown chicken stock you would make and add a pincage

                Skim the scum as necessary during the cooking process

                Strain, use or freeze

                2 Replies
                1. re: CTChef

                  Okay, I'll bite: what's a pincage?


                  1. re: curiousbaker

                    A carmelized mirepoix with the addition of tomato paste

                2. Just made stock yesterday from a roasted chicken carcass. No scum at all. I brought the 6 qt pot of water very slowly to a slow simmer. I'm usually too impatient, crank up the heat to high and walk away, to come back when the lid is clanking, then turn it down. Not this time, and low&behold, no scum. I seem to rememeber something about this in 'Tampopo'. Anyone else have this happen?

                  I left out the veggies till the last 40 minutes as suggested in an earlier thread, and no carrots, just parlsey, onions, garlic, and a bit of celery. Then I removed the chicken, bones, and veggies, and reduced the broth by half. It came out very well, and am pleased with the results, though it took most of the day. Next time I'll try adding chicken feet. I've never used them, do I need to so anything to them before adding? I read an earlier thread about 'trimming the claws'--what does this accomplish?

                  Also, related--can I successfully freeze shrimp shells for later stock making? Will the flavor suffer?

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: toodie jane

                    why freeze the shrimp shells? In my experience making shrimp stock doesn't take hours; I get a very flavorful stock in just 20 minutes or so.

                    1. re: Donna Gresh

                      Agreed, make the shrimp stock with the fresh shells, and don't cook for more than 20 to 30 minutes (otherwise the stock may turn a little bitter). Then you can freeze the stock.

                      1. re: cap

                        How much water would I use for shells from a pound of medium shrimp? Any other ingredients I should add? (I was thinking perhaps a bay leaf?)

                        1. re: KathyR

                          Usually I'm just doing a few shells (one meal's worth). I put them in a saucepan and just add enough water to cover. I don't usually add anything else, but a bay leaf couldn't hurt. I then freeze it in small containers to use in risotto or whatever.

                    2. re: toodie jane

                      "though it took most of the day."

                      I hear you. That why I usually make mine overnight these days. Safety nuts will probably freak out at this, but what I do is put the bones to simmer and prepare & refrigerate the vegetables just before going to bed. When I get up, I'll throw all the vegetables into the pot, go through the usual morning routine, and then strain the stock just before leaving the house.

                      Regarding shrimp shells, yes, I freeze and later make stock with them all the time. They freezer burn rather easily since their shape traps a lot of air, so use them quickly. I try to use them within a month.


                      1. re: toodie jane

                        I keep a bag in the freezer just for shrimp shells. They'll last at least a month, probably long. When I'm ready to make some gumbo, out come the shells and 30 minutes later there's some wonderful shrimp stock with which to make gumbo, so much better than conned broth or water.

                        1. re: toodie jane

                          That's the other thing I forgot to mention to get a clear and not cloudy stock, keep the heat at the lowest simmer. Just an occasional tiny bubble. Or better yet, you can do it in a double boiler.