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I would like to discuss stock.

SoylentG Sep 14, 2007 12:07 AM

So I try to make my own stock from scratch as often as I can, but I think I may be doing a few things wrong. I have read a million recipes about this but none of them seem to be able to answer the question of how you know when when stock is actually DONE. Is it too thick? is it too thin? There seems to be no solid test along the lines of "the sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon."

any help?

For the record i just followed the "les halles" "recipe" (guidelines?) for veal stock.

  1. SoylentG Sep 14, 2007 12:09 AM

    this is also my first post.

    hey folks.

    1. coll Sep 14, 2007 04:28 AM

      I never really thought about it, sometimes it's broth and sometimes it's gelatin, either way is fine with me. I don't know how important it actually is, unless you're working in a 4 star restaurant. As long as it tastes good is my motto!

      1 Reply
      1. re: coll
        d
        DGresh Sep 14, 2007 04:51 AM

        I agree. You will get violent opinions here on the "right" length of time, from 2 hours to 20 hours. IMHO, whatever you do is going to taste so much better than anything you buy, that worrying about it too much is unnecessary, unless, as above, you are working in a fancy restaurant. Personally I cook it for "several" hours, whatever is convenient for me; typically about 4 hours. For my purposes, I'm usually looking at it as a base for soup or sauces, so I don't want something TOO thick and reduced.

      2. NYchowcook Sep 14, 2007 05:05 AM

        So why do you think you're doing something wrong? Does it taste bad?
        Ease up and relax a bit -- stocks are actually flexible. Stock doesn't "coat the back of a spoon", sauces or demi glace do.

        Two rules for making stock: (1) don't boil and (2) skim like crazy as the water heats up and at the beginning of the simmer, and then occasionally as scum forms on top.

        For veal stock since it's mostly bones, you'll need to cook for a good 4-6 hours. Browning the bones first in the oven adds flavor depth. I add any vegetables (onion, parsley, etc. at the last hour so they don't overcook and turn bitter.

        If you want demi glace, the next day, put strained liquid back in pot and reduce by half; put into a smaller pot and reduce again until thick-ish. Cool and freeze into ice cubes, bag, and live contentedly knowing you have liquid gold in the freezer.

        For chicken stock, I throw a whole bird in the stock pot, cover with cold water by 2 inches or so, bring to a simmer (skimming the scum) and cook at a lazy simmer for a couple hours, adding a few stalks of parsley, 10 peppercorns, a clove or two of garlic, and cut up onion, celery and carrots. You can remove the chicken after an hour and pull off the breasts or other meat you may want to add back to the soup or to eat in some other fashion, but I rarely do.
        Taste and see if it has flavor, then your stock is done.

        4 Replies
        1. re: NYchowcook
          MMRuth Sep 14, 2007 05:27 AM

          One tip that I learned from JC is to do a lot of skimming before adding the items suggested by NYchowcook - that way you don't have to pick them out with the scum.

          1. re: MMRuth
            oakjoan Sep 15, 2007 11:18 PM

            I was just thinking about this problem MMR, when I read your post. I had the idea of putting a colander on top of the soup and pushing it below the surface so that the scum/froth could rise through it. I really hate picking out the stuff that comes out with the scum/froth.

            My problem is that I usually forget to skim until I've put the thyme and onions into the stock...duh. Thus the weird colander idea.

            1. re: oakjoan
              Gooseberry Sep 16, 2007 07:49 AM

              If you have a conical sieve, this might work even better. In professional kitchens, where a stockpot is always on the go, cooks will stick a conical sieve in the middle, and ladle out stock from the centre of it as needed. The sieve keeps all the 'bits' out of the stock. Sort of like reverse-straining it.

              1. re: oakjoan
                applehome Sep 18, 2007 09:19 AM

                Why pick things out? I dump the entire pot through a collander into another pot, then set up 1 and 2 qt Ball jars with the wide mouth funnel and the nylon mesh bag and fill up the jars which get vacuum sealed and go into the fridge. It lasts for months.

                This is clear enough for 90% of uses. If I'm making a clear broth that needs special clarity, I use the egg white technique - in fact, I don't care how much you skim - if you want it really clear, you have to use the egg whites or multiple layers of cheesecloth or both.

          2. g
            GG Mora Sep 14, 2007 05:29 AM

            I cook my veal stock down to a thick gelatin, gently flavored with thyme, garlic, red wine, and some mild ham. When it's cold, I cut it into cubes which get stored in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. I can use a block for a quick pan sauce for sautéed or roasted meats, but I can also reconstitute a block with water for a full-flavored broth.

            2 Replies
            1. re: GG Mora
              WCchopper Sep 14, 2007 12:04 PM

              That sounds really good. Can you do this with other things like beef or whatever? When is the wine added?

              1. re: WCchopper
                c
                chazzerking Sep 18, 2007 09:56 AM

                I do mine this way all the time. except instead of cutting into cubes, I use zipper snack bags.( I put about 3/4 cup in each,and press out the air) there's less oxidation that way. they reconstitute fine for stock or do great in sauces

            2. QueenB Sep 14, 2007 07:30 AM

              It ain't done wrong if it tastes good.

              I simmer my stock for 2-3 hours. That seems to be enough to get a nice gelatinous texture when it cools. It isn't "thick", just a bit jello-ey.

              Love the name...."it's peeeoooooppppllllleeeee!"

              1. Olivia Sep 14, 2007 07:42 AM

                Wow, "Les Halles"--that's pretty hardcore <lol>

                Aside from what's already been said, I'd like to add:

                -if you know what you'll be doing with it (soup? veloute? demi glace?) bear that in mind so you can adjust the flavourings and simmering time accordingly

                -if you don't know what you'll use it for and are just trying to use up some bones, keep it as neutrally flavoured as possible; makes it more versatile. (e.g. adding ginger will make it difficult to incorporate into a classically French dish)

                -don't add salt--save that for whatever you're making as the end product

                1. fayehess Sep 14, 2007 07:53 AM

                  I would like to know what you think you might be doing "wrong" but here are some things to think about for starters: For chicken stock, which is the one you might make the most often, bring all of the bones to a boil with none of the vegetables and as soon as they come to a boil, strain and rinse them off (as well as the pan). This will significantly reduce the scum. Put the bones back in the pot along with carrot, celery, onion (usually two parts onion to one part carrot and celery), maybe a fennel frond, a little tiny bit of tomato, parsley, fresh thyme sprig, a bay leaf, a garlic clove, and simmer, skimming the surface with a spoon to collect any foam. You can cook this anywhere from 1 hour to 4 depending on how rich you want it. Never add salt. (peppercorn is all right, but I only use about 4 peppercorns to 2 pounds of chicken bones) In Italy, you would be much more likely to cook the stock less, really a broth--anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, whereas in France, they might tend to go for a much richer broth and would then go for the full four hours. Fish stock is really ready in 15 minutes to half an hour to keep a fresh flavor, and veal stock can go for a a few hours to a whole day at a super low simmer, after optional roasting the bones and vegetables first at 350 degrees to caramelize them. fayefood.com

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: fayehess
                    m
                    Marsha Sep 14, 2007 12:41 PM

                    I think I missed something in your instructions - are you saying the boil the bones first, drain (that is, dump the water) and rinse the bones and the pot, and then add the other ingredients with new water?

                    1. re: Marsha
                      t
                      torty Sep 14, 2007 05:16 PM

                      I'm not the one who posted, but that is a common way to get rid of some of the heavy duty scum. I do not do that. My stock is for home use so I really do not need it super clear, just tasty.

                      1. re: torty
                        Gooseberry Sep 16, 2007 07:53 AM

                        As earlier posters said, it really is about your final use for the stock. For white stocks, blanching the bones as Torty suggests (you can drop them in boiling water, count to twenty then strain) will produce a clearer stock with less impurities. White stocks are used mainly for clear soups. If you are doing a brown stock, you don't blanch the bones, but roast them first, saute the veg, and add some tomato paste to get a caramelized flavour and brown, murkier stock which will usually have more flavour. That type is good for sauces and braises.

                        1. re: Gooseberry
                          scubadoo97 Sep 18, 2007 05:28 AM

                          Correct. Roasting and blanching will reduce the scum factor. I will also add that you should always bring the stock up to temp slowly. If on the stove start with cold water and don't blast it on high to get a quick boil. Gentle heating is always prefered.

                          1. re: scubadoo97
                            m
                            MakingSense Sep 18, 2007 08:09 AM

                            If you boil a stock, the fat globules break down into small particles and cloud the stock. You should always keep the stock below the boiling point, just bring it to simmering.
                            Keeps the calories down too.

                            1. re: MakingSense
                              fayehess Sep 18, 2007 10:58 AM

                              the calories!!!??? Oh my gosh, what is the world coming to? I worry about people feeling panic about the calories in a homemade stock. Nobody, but nobody, ever got fat eating stock. And I disagree that every calorie counts. I believe it's quality not quantity, and you don't get much better than homemade stock. fayefood.com

                              1. re: fayehess
                                m
                                MakingSense Sep 18, 2007 11:53 AM

                                Hey, there are those who do worry and don't understand why they're having a hard time dieting when they're eating broth-based soups. If you boil stocks while you're making them, the fats emulsify and disburse throughout the stock, hiding everywhere, waiting to get you. Better to save those fat calories to use where you can get some pleasure out of them - to make a good roux, add a little cream to enrich the soup, some croutons, chunks of potatoes, some crusty bread or a glass of wine. Cloudy stock doesn't give me any joy.

                      2. re: Marsha
                        fayehess Sep 18, 2007 10:42 AM

                        Hi, sorry it took so long to get back to you, but yea, that's what I mean. Put the bones in the pot, cover with water, bring to a boil, dump the water out, and save the bones. Give them a good rinse, (and the pot) and start anew. Same bones, new water, now the carrot, celery, onion, etc. This way you want get all of those proteins floating around in the stock that are never truly skimmable. You also get a much cleaner flavor. fayefood.com

                    2. e
                      ExercisetoEat Sep 14, 2007 08:16 AM

                      A useful tip I've come across is to break the chicken bones before cooking to allow the marrow to seep out and thicken the stock. You can also brown the chicken bones before cooking for a deeper flavor if so desired. Another helpful tip is to keep a cleaned out milk carton in the freezer and toss in veggie scraps as you cook throughout the week, then you can just cut off the carton and use them in a vegetable stock later.

                      1. mschow Sep 14, 2007 08:37 AM

                        somebody else here on chowhound does their stock in a crockpot. I think they just dump all the bones in, few veggies, seasoning, bay leaf, water, and leave it overnight. I plan on trying that next time I make stock. How much easier could it be?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mschow
                          scuzzo Sep 18, 2007 09:42 AM

                          Yes, low and slow gets all the flavor out of the bones, and the gelatin.

                        2. BigSteve Sep 14, 2007 08:38 AM

                          I usually only make chicken stock...sometimes pork with ham bones. I don't know how you can go wrong. I just throw all of the chicken scraps (bones, meat, skin) into a large pot of water, bring to a boil and the simmer. I don't worry about seasoning too much...that can come when the stock is used...although I'll usually throw an onion in the pot (everything I cook seems to use onion!) and a celery stalk (top and all). I have never simmered for less than 2 hours, usually 3 to 4. Strain when hot - save the meat if you are making chicken soup - chill and remove fat. The longer you simmer seems to = more gelatin - but that gets right back to liquid when you cook. Think of it this way: you're just trying to gat some chicken flavored water!

                          I often end up freezing stock...and if I haven't used it in a couple of weeks, I'll use it to boil pasta - awesome - everyone will say how graet the pasta tastes!!!

                          1. alanbarnes Sep 14, 2007 08:55 AM

                            A good stock is one that has effectively transferred flavor and texture from a pile of bones to a pot of water. (Broth, which includes meat, is another matter.) I like to simmer the bones until they have given up all their goodness (they get light and friable); depending on the size and type of bone, it takes anywhere from 12 to 48 hours. You can shut off the heat after an hour or two, but the resulting product won't be as flavorful or unctuous.

                            As far as a solid test goes, I'd say that stock should gel in the fridge. If it's still a liquid at 40 degrees, you didn't simmer the bones long enough.

                            There's also the plumber test. It's more subjective, but still an indication of whether further cooking will be useful. With some exceptions (eg, beef shins) you can break up fully-depleted bones with your fingers. So just ask yourself whether you'd be comfortable putting the bones down your garbage disposal without finding a plumber's telephone number first.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: alanbarnes
                              l
                              lagatta Sep 14, 2007 09:13 AM

                              I doubt putting softened bones into the sewage system is a particularly good idea, to put it mildly.

                              I make chicken stock with a mixture of bones (sold by my butcher's, cheap - and they have a fair bit of meat clinging to them) and either chicken legs (cheaper than a whole chicken) or a boiling hen. I don't waste the meat - I remove it after poaching it for an hour or so, and return the bones to the pot. Vegetables after doing that. I reduce it a bit.

                              Poaching chicken in the stock a second time makes divine poached chicken and ultra-good stock!

                              1. re: lagatta
                                alanbarnes Sep 14, 2007 09:35 AM

                                Grind 'em up and run 'em down. My disposal has seen the carcasses of hundreds of chickens, and it (and the plumbing downstream) have never had a problem. (Well, not with the chickens, anyway. My 10-year-old put some leftover rice down the disposal last week and didn't follow it up with enough water. Turns out expanded rice makes a really good drain plug.)

                                I like your poaching idea--it's kind of symbiotic, improving both the chicken and the stock. I've just started a similar thing with a stock-based brine. Brine the chicken, grill or roast it, toss the bones into the brine, simmer to sanitize and extract more goodness, refrigerate, and repeat with the next chicken. Don't know how it will pan out over the long haul, but two chickens in it seems to be doing great.

                                1. re: lagatta
                                  foxy fairy Sep 16, 2007 08:35 AM

                                  lagatta -- do you just ask your butcher for extra bones, or anything specific? I'd like to try chicken stock for the first time. About how many bones and chicken legs do you use and how much water?

                                  What do you do with the poached meat? Chicken salad?

                              2. k
                                karykat Sep 14, 2007 09:21 AM

                                I have a different question about stocks and broths. What about the particles and dregs that seem to accumulate at the bottom of the stock? They don't look appetizing. Is there a good way to prevent/eliminate that? Or should I forget about it?

                                18 Replies
                                1. re: karykat
                                  chocabot Sep 14, 2007 09:30 AM

                                  skimming really helps to keep the stock looking clean. you can strain through cheesecloth or clarify w/ egg whites.

                                  Agree with alanbarnes above about gelatinous stock and breakable bones. i roast my bones/chick carcasses w/ chunks of carrot/celery/onion, garlic for about 40 min on a baking tray then into a pot to with peppercorns and bay leaf, simmered w/ water to cover a couple inches. i go for a minimum of 8hrs. after refrigerating i can more easily remove any hardened fat and impurities on the surface.

                                  i skim but i'm too lazy to clarify.

                                  1. re: chocabot
                                    SoylentG Sep 14, 2007 11:00 AM

                                    adding ham to the stock kinda sounds interesting.

                                    1. re: chocabot
                                      MMRuth Sep 14, 2007 11:48 AM

                                      You simmer for 8 hours?

                                    2. re: karykat
                                      fayehess Sep 14, 2007 11:16 AM

                                      put the bones in the pot with the water and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, strain, rinse everything and start again with the vegetables and herb, continuing to skim and now letting it simmer for its full amount of time. It will reduce all that muck in the pan considerably. fayefood.com

                                      1. re: karykat
                                        NYchowcook Sep 14, 2007 04:25 PM

                                        When you strain your stock, stop short of pouring in the yucky dregs. Throw them out.

                                        1. re: karykat
                                          m
                                          Mila Sep 18, 2007 10:07 AM

                                          I tend to be a little obsessive about clear stock so I use the big colander, then the finer sieve, then cheesecloth.

                                          In cooking school they taught us a method using a "raft" of beaten egg whites, pureed vegetables and meat which will collect all the dregs. It's a bit tricky and really suitable when you are doing something like a consommé.

                                          My stock rules to live by include: cold water to start, never boiling, add vegetables after skimming, brown meats for a richer stock, no salt, whole chickens in preference to chicken parts, no strong herbs and don't use parsley - it gives the stock a greenish tinge.

                                          1. re: Mila
                                            c
                                            chazzerking Sep 18, 2007 03:06 PM

                                            When going to a consomme that will be used with little embellishmnt, I take the raft 1 step further, per Escoffier. to the eggwhite I add hamburger meat and the eggshells that have been crusched then beat the mixture and add to the stock. in addittion to clarifying, it also enriches the stock.

                                            1. re: chazzerking
                                              m
                                              Mila Sep 19, 2007 07:28 AM

                                              Interesting, I think the crushed shells would give the raft more stablility. I will definitely try that next time. We used ground shin meat in school to add flavour.

                                            2. re: Mila
                                              alanbarnes Sep 19, 2007 07:58 AM

                                              I've always just used egg whites, but the raft sounds like a great idea. Does it sink in cold stock and rise to the top like egg whites? Seems like the meat might make it float...

                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                c
                                                chazzerking Sep 19, 2007 08:20 AM

                                                yes it does rise to the top. I'm not sure, but I think this may be part of its clarifying process. As it rises, it filters the particulate matter in the stock and traps it in the raft.

                                                1. re: chazzerking
                                                  alanbarnes Sep 19, 2007 08:39 AM

                                                  Cool. I'll have to give it a try. Egg whites work well, but they're a challenge to strain out. The meat and veggies (and eggshells, why not?) would certainly give a little more substance to the "filter."

                                                  1. re: alanbarnes
                                                    c
                                                    chazzerking Sep 19, 2007 08:43 AM

                                                    I think it has been mentioned above, but it's important to not boil the stock especially after the raft is added, as it causes any remaining fat to break up and distribute throughout the liquid. It can also break up the raft. When removing, I pour the stock slowly through a china cap lined with cheesecloth but carefully so the raft doesn't slide out.

                                                    1. re: chazzerking
                                                      m
                                                      Mila Sep 19, 2007 09:34 AM

                                                      This is the tricky part. In school we made a hole in the raft and ladled out the stock. Ideally it would be a stock pot with a spigot in the bottom.
                                                      Do you pour the whole thing through the china cap Chazzerking?

                                                      1. re: Mila
                                                        c
                                                        chazzerking Sep 19, 2007 02:47 PM

                                                        Only till the raft is about to slide out. then it can get tricky. If I have help, I'll pour and have my wife hold back the raft with a spatula. If I'm on my own, I just ladle from on top of the raft, pushing down gently.

                                                        1. re: Mila
                                                          yayadave Sep 19, 2007 02:59 PM

                                                          Why doesn't anyone just get a piece of tubing and siphon the stock?

                                                          1. re: yayadave
                                                            c
                                                            chazzerking Sep 19, 2007 03:24 PM

                                                            Never thought of it. But tubing would have to be heatproof or it would give the stock an off flavor, and after all that work, it would be a shame.

                                                            1. re: chazzerking
                                                              alanbarnes Sep 19, 2007 03:56 PM

                                                              The local homebrew supply shop has heat-resistant food-grade plastic tubing...

                                                              1. re: chazzerking
                                                                yayadave Sep 19, 2007 04:04 PM

                                                                You can put the tube in the pot below any scum or oil/grease/fat floating on top and above any junk sitting on the bottom. And you have the option of tying a filter "sock" on either end. Also, you don't have to lift the pot over to the sink to pour it into a strainer.

                                                                What alanbarnes said:
                                                                Siphoning Equipment
                                                                http://www.northernbrewer.com/siphon.html
                                                                Stirring and Straining
                                                                http://www.northernbrewer.com/stir-st...

                                              2. WCchopper Sep 14, 2007 12:08 PM

                                                Any thoughts on using chicken feet for the high gelatin content?

                                                6 Replies
                                                1. re: WCchopper
                                                  MMRuth Sep 14, 2007 12:09 PM

                                                  I almost always add chicken feet to my chicken stock, even though I'm repulsed by their appearance, especially when removing them from the stock. I feel like squeaking eeek when I do that.

                                                  1. re: MMRuth
                                                    WCchopper Sep 14, 2007 12:11 PM

                                                    Do you think it makes a big dif? And is it enhancing the flavor or the texture?

                                                    1. re: WCchopper
                                                      MMRuth Sep 14, 2007 12:15 PM

                                                      It certainly improves the texture - much more likely to get gelatinous results, especially since, when I'm using frozen carcasses, I don't wait to defrost and chop them up.

                                                      1. re: MMRuth
                                                        WCchopper Sep 14, 2007 12:17 PM

                                                        Thanks! I am emboldened to take the plunge!

                                                        1. re: WCchopper
                                                          Gooseberry Sep 16, 2007 07:57 AM

                                                          pork or not-chicken-only stocks traditionally might include a pig's trotter because it's so high in that silky, gorgeous gelatine. I think of chicken feet as a pork-free trotter substitute!

                                                    2. re: MMRuth
                                                      m
                                                      Mother of four Sep 14, 2007 07:05 PM

                                                      Funny, I have not seen chicken feet in too many years to admit to. My Mother used to make them in her soup, and I used to love them. Those were the days when you went to the butcher and got fresh chickens. I just went to my local farmers Market, and there were chicken feet!! I had a long conversation with a younger person there who had never heard of them. As I said, funny to hear about chicken feet twice in two days!!!

                                                  2. popcorn_denver Sep 14, 2007 12:29 PM

                                                    This thread has inspired me to make stocks again...I've been rather lazy during the summer and haven't cooked anything that takes longer than 20 minutes to finish.

                                                    That being said, has anyone ever tried getting bones from mass supermarket butcher shops? I live in Denver and King Soopers or Safeway are our everyday grocery stores. I'm sure I can get bones at a butcher shop, but thinking I'm thinking about convenience here.

                                                    Other methods by which you come across your bones??

                                                    -Laziest gourmand ever!! ;)

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: popcorn_denver
                                                      hannaone Sep 16, 2007 06:28 PM

                                                      You could check with local food service suppliers, many have a "will call" option where non-account holders can pick up smaller than delivery level orders.
                                                      You can also order "X" lbs of soup bones from most grocery stores/supermarkets with fresh meat sections.

                                                    2. popcorn_denver Sep 14, 2007 12:33 PM

                                                      Aww jeez, upon reflection it sounds like I'm hijacking the conversation by posting a different question. Sorry 'bout that!

                                                      Soylent - I'm going to agree with fayehess using his/her quote "You can cook this anywhere from 1 hour to 4 depending on how rich you want it"

                                                      Stock, to me, is always ready to use, but never "done", when you've let it simmer at least for 1.5 hours and it all depends on numerous factors
                                                      1 - type of bones
                                                      2 - how rich do you want it
                                                      3 - what's the application - soup, sauce?

                                                      1. m
                                                        Mother of four Sep 14, 2007 07:00 PM

                                                        Make it, after a few hours taste it. If it tasts good it's done, if not you can continue cooking it, or if you want a deeper taste boil it down a bit. Stocks don't coat a spoon, it's all in the taste.

                                                        1. Sam Fujisaka Sep 15, 2007 09:04 AM

                                                          Stocks need to be done with care. They need to come out clear.

                                                          No one has mentioned fish stock. Fish stocks: heads, bones, moire poix, peppercorns, bit of salt; place in cold water, bring almost to boil, done after 30 minutes of low simmer; strain; beaten egg whites spread on the surface will pick up impurities. The gelatinious level of a fish stock depends on the fish. A really gelatinous sauce will provide very hearty, satisfying dishes or sauces.

                                                          Not sure if anyone has mentioned roasting meat bones first for meat stocks.

                                                          1. Gio Sep 15, 2007 10:57 AM

                                                            Apart from what everyone else has offered, Jaques Pepin uses a pasta pot with insert for his chicken soup and/or stock and vegetables. Yes, he skims, but at the end he simply lifts out the strainer/insert leaving the broth behind..

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Gio
                                                              b
                                                              Bigtigger Sep 16, 2007 02:02 AM

                                                              As it does with fat reduction for gravies and so forth, a layer or two of quality paper towelling dipped into the pot makes an excellent scum skimmer.

                                                            2. chef chicklet Sep 17, 2007 11:04 AM

                                                              My chicken stock seems to come out pretty tasty, least people know its fresh, not canned. I vary the vegetable herb combo hence, Asian, Mexcian, of plain chicken stock. I clean the bird inside well, if using a stewing chicken. The innards, along the back bone cause the scum. I scrape as best I can, rinse and sometimes even use a lemon. Otherwise, I strain the broth twice through cheese cloth fitted over a fine sieve to get the clear broth I love. I add pepper corns and sea salt, not ground pepper to the pot. Herbs are tied, and veggies used to enhance the flavor are cut big. Ginger root, I make large slices, and add several piece. For Asian soups where I want to focus on the broth I use a lot of chicken wings. I either save them or buy them and then toss once they given themselves to the broth. I will also let it cool, refrigerate, and then use it. I don't use it the day its made. Salting the broth in the beginning and getting the salt level perfect is important for me. about 2 and 1/2 hours for a 5 pounder is long enough for me. The gelatinous goopy goodness doesn't come about until its cool. And the broth is clear.

                                                              9 Replies
                                                              1. re: chef chicklet
                                                                NYchowcook Sep 17, 2007 07:41 PM

                                                                I use peppercorns, but never add salt to chicken stock. You can add it later as you use it.

                                                                1. re: NYchowcook
                                                                  chef chicklet Sep 17, 2007 10:34 PM

                                                                  no I flavor it. Why not?

                                                                  1. re: chef chicklet
                                                                    j
                                                                    JGrey Sep 18, 2007 08:12 AM

                                                                    If I want to reduce it, I don't want it pre-salted. Or (another use more likely for me), if I oversalt something, I can get it back in balance by adding unsalted stock.

                                                                    1. re: chef chicklet
                                                                      m
                                                                      MakingSense Sep 18, 2007 09:05 AM

                                                                      I only season stock if I'm making it for a specific recipe.
                                                                      If I'm making it to keep on hand for future use - and I have no way of knowing what recipe I'll be using it in - I don't put anything in it. Nothing. Just chicken or beef or fish. That way I'm not stuck with the last container of stock in the freezer seasoned with ginger and garlic when the recipe for that night doesn't use those flavors.

                                                                      1. re: MakingSense
                                                                        chef chicklet Sep 18, 2007 11:05 AM

                                                                        I think that is a good plan. How much stock are you making per session?
                                                                        Do you have a separate freezer? I have two refrigerators, and I have both freezers stuffed.
                                                                        I still flavor it all even when its reduced/I like how it all taste when concentrated, especially the Asian. Might be just my personal taste thing, I use to do just plain but it was inefficient time management for me. I do it this way because at one time my commute was crazy,getting home in the evening at 6 pm or later and I needed a serious jump on things.

                                                                        1. re: chef chicklet
                                                                          m
                                                                          MakingSense Sep 18, 2007 11:47 AM

                                                                          It's an ongoing enterprise, although I do make some big batches, especially in winter for soups. When I have some shrimp shells or a chicken carcass, it's no trouble to throw that into a small pot while we're eating supper or doing stuff around the house. I might only get a pint or quart of stock. I have a stainless steel pot and strainer that can go in the DW so cleanup is a snap. The stock might get used that week or I'll pop it into the freezer. Why buy canned stock? It's like free food. So easy to create a soup with some leftovers.

                                                                          1. re: MakingSense
                                                                            chef chicklet Sep 18, 2007 12:16 PM

                                                                            I agree, I don't use canned broths when I'm making a great dish. In a hurry, sometimes I do and I regret it. I wish I could just make a great big container - like a 5 gallon and scoop it out like ice cream!

                                                                            1. re: chef chicklet
                                                                              m
                                                                              MakingSense Sep 18, 2007 12:27 PM

                                                                              For a small household, you have to keep the supply constantly turning over. Don't store enormous amounts of anything in the freezer or pantry because things get old. Terrible waste to pitch things if they go sour or freezer burn. Even stocks can get an off taste because of flavors in them. There are still starving children in the world, just like Mama said when I was small, so I try not to waste.
                                                                              I used to make enormous batches when my household was much bigger but now I rarely make more than a gallon or two at a time. I can use the freezer space for bargains from the market or other things.

                                                                              1. re: MakingSense
                                                                                chef chicklet Sep 18, 2007 05:22 PM

                                                                                I love fresh stock, and yes I am ashamed to admit that I've wasted food.
                                                                                Slap slap slap up aside my head. You're absolutely right.

                                                                2. scuzzo Sep 18, 2007 09:32 AM

                                                                  Here's how I make great, deep chicken stock. Roast a chicken, use the meat for whatever you want. Toss carcass, any bones, giblets too, a carrot or two, an onion or two, quarted, and a couple stocks of celery into an oven proof stock pot. Bake in a hot oven uncovered (maybe 450?) until everything in the pot is good and toasty. Then, add water, a bay leaf, a pinch of peppercorns, and enough water to cover everything. Cover and turn the oven low (like 250) and let it sit a long time, sometimes overnight, check for water evaporation though, and add water as necessary. Then strain. The toasting adds a deep flavor, and the long simmer gets all the marrow and gelatin out of the bones. When cooled, peel off the fat. The stock is usually nice and Jello like when cold. Makes great soups and sauces! I also use this chicken stock to make bread dough, using all stock instead of the water. Makes a really tasty bread!!! Seriously. This same process works great for other meat stocks. So good I often just drink it like tea! I only salt it when I'm ready to use it for something. If you simmer this on the stove, and it boils too much, it will get cloudy. I would still use it, it tastes great, but it loses it's beautiful clearness.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: scuzzo
                                                                    c
                                                                    cookingschool Sep 24, 2007 03:30 PM

                                                                    This sounds exactly what I'm looking for, scuzzo. I've been wanting to try the Les Halles onion soup recipe. Bourdain calls for a DARK chicken stock. I wasn't sure how to produce that, but this should be it. I'll be roasting a chicken tomorrow night, so I'm going to follow your guide. Thanks for your posting!

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