HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Can't get my chicken soup to gelatinize (Re-post from General Topics)

Reading the board this week, I came across a post regarding a person's chicken soup that has turned to jello in the fridge and how this was a good thing...Well, as much as I try, I CANNOT get this effect! This time, I used about 1.3 lbs of chicken "bones" (about 50 cents, literally, from the store) it has bones, some meat and skin on it.

I boiled this in water (not sure how much, I just eyeballed it- but it was about 1/2 way up the side of my 12 quart pot) with some carrots for about an hour. After, I took out the bones and put into the pot the rest of my veggies and a bone in skin on chicken breast (to get useable meat) for another 1.5-2 hours.

From the fridge, the soup was just liquid, and not close to jello-like.

What went wrong? Were more bones and longer cooking time needed? (The soup tasted fine, but I am still missing something in techniqure I think!)

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Sounds like way too much water for the amount of bones and too short a cooking time. Water should just cover the bones. Try it with twice as many bones and half as much water.

    1. I think you got it--more bones and more cooking time. I usually use the carcasses of two or three roasted chickens and some random bones from other chicken dishes (I keep them frozen till I need them).

      One good tip I got from Chowhounds is don't boil! Let simmer gently for two hours, more or less. This helps prevent the stock from being cloudy.

      Also, you might not want to cook the meat for so long if you want to eat it; it does "dry out" a little from overcooking. I usually finish cooking the stock, then, to make soup, add chicken meat to cook, remove when cooked, and add back in when it's all done.

      1. More chicken less water and you will have a more gelatenous soup. I would increase the amount of chicken used by 3 or 4 times for the amount of water you used.

        1. The water should only be enough to cover whatever you're making stock out of.
          Keep the heat to a minimum. Just a bubble here and there coming to the surface.
          Put it on in the morning and leave it all day. Strain it after dinner. That should be fine.

          There was a post on another thread that says she does it in her crock pot overnight and into the next day. I haven't tried it but I will be. I have a freezer full of varying carcasses that I need to do something with.

          DT

          1. I would actually try using chicken feet next time. They are incredibly cheap and are used when you want your stock to gel.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bitsubeats

              Use kitchen shears and cut up the wings (or add a pack of cut up wings). I always bag 3 or 4 chix carcasses before I make deep flavored chicken stock. Sometimes I make it a double or triple by adding my frozen stock to the new batch. Good fall/winter chicken stock, nothing better........

              .

            2. bitsubeats is right--feet.

              On the other hand, if you really want to see what heavy jello is like, do a fish stock. Use the bones and heads after taking the fillets. I make stocks with cachama we catch, a very large piranah relative. Its the cartilagenous bits that render the most high-protein jello.

              1. I agree with the feet people. For some reason the cartilage like flesh on the chicken feet seen to produce the most gelatin. It is the same for most animals, I have stewed cow feet, pig feet, duck feet..... always get gummy gelatiny broth.

                1. I agree about the feet. You don't have to use too many - maybe about 6 per 3 quarts of liquid. I find the best chicken soup is achieved by using lots and lots of wings (about a dozen), some feet, four or five legs, a couple of breasts, and a couple of carcasses. Use 3 or 4 onions and 2 leeks, about 8 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, one celery root, 2 cloves of garlic, salt and pepper. The onions and leeks make the soup sweet, and it's a great, rich, chicken soup. Perfect for a batch of matzo balls!

                  As stated above, simmer gently with the lid ajar, for about 2 hours.

                  1. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to your stock. It helps dissolve the bones. he flavor dissipates with long cooking.

                    1. Even if you don't use chicken feet, the stock should gel on cooling if you've simmered it long enough. Two hours is not long enough. The stock is done when the bones in the chicken carcass collapse. What I mean by this is that the thigh and drumstick bones disconnect from each other or the breast cage collapses. That tells you that the connective tissue holding them together has dissolved into your stock.