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home made stock - looking for shortcuts

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Love soups. I was cool today and I started thinking about doing a gumbo. But the thought of doing a batch of stock from scratch really didn't sit well with me.

Any one have a good short cut or even a store bought stock that comes close to home made stuff.

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    1. re: thew

      I second that. I was feeling a cold coming on last night. I tossed a chicken, some chicken feet and veggies in the PC, and 30 minutes later, I was drinking the most wonderful broth......

      I make gumbo all the time with mine. While the roux is cooking, I have the chicken in the PC and once all of the aromatics are chopped and tossed into the roux, the PC is done and the broth is ready.....Yum.
      Thanks. Now I know what I am having for dinner tonight!

      1. re: thew

        I dunno...even with the pressure cooking stock making can take some time. I made a batch on Thursday. The cooking time was only an hour....but then waiting for the pressure to come down and cooling it down takes time. Degreasing/defatting. Then reducing. Then cooling again. Then storing in whatever size containers you want. It still took pretty much a good part of the day, though it wasn't labor intensive.

        Now admittedly if you were going ot use it right away it would remove the last cooling and storing steps but I can't stand stock that hasn' t been degreased so up to that point it still takes a fair amount of time.

        The pressure cooker does make good stock though. I don't know why but I always get a more flavorful/more gelatinous stock that way. Not sure what the food science behind it might be...

        1. re: ziggylu

          Pressure cooker does two things, prevents boiling (clearer stock), forces out colligen faster.

          I have heard some vitamins are lost when using a PC but I've not heard from a definitive source.

          The most important question then. What size and what brand PC do you have?

            1. re: Soup

              I have a Kuhn Rikon 8 qt pressure cooker and it's a perfect tool for making stock. Also, chicken stock is not exactly loaded with vitamins and minerals to begin with...a fair bit of protein but not much else to speak of. So there really isn't much to lose.

              As for cooking in a pressure cooker, generally, I've read that it actually helps foods retain more nutritional value.

        2. if you want a proper stock, I agree with the other folks, pressure cooker is probably the way to go.

          as for store bought, make sure you buy a low sodium brand.

          For sort of a short cut, you can simmer roasted chicken bones, onions, celery, carrot, parsley and thyme. If you simmer it for two hours, you'll end up with a pretty good stock. Heck, even an hour and you'll get a pretty good one.

          The reason I say using a cooked chicken is that you won't have to fiddle as much with skimming the stuff that comes to the top as you do with raw chicken. That saves some of the hassle. And the flavor is more intense from a roasted chicken carcass.

          Of course that implies you have one. You could also just roast some chicken parts quickly (throw in the stock veggies toward the end) then, once very nicely browned, do your stock that way.

          just some thoughts.

          1 Reply
          1. re: adamclyde

            I agree with adamclyde--roast all the ingredients first, then simmer. Richer fuller flavor without boiling hard for reduction.

          2. There's a post on this thread: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/445376 on making chicken stock in a crockpot. No, it won't save time, per se, but since it's cooking while you sleep or are at work, you won't have to use up in-the-kitchen time.

            I tried it, and it a wonderfully clear lovely stock; no scum to skim.

            1. I use my slow cooker. I put a few chicken leg-thigh combos in bottom, cut up an onion and a couple ribs of celery, and fill the crock almost to the top with water. Let 'er rip overnight on SLOW. Pour all through colander. Done.

              1. I'll add two different ones.

                Crock Pot


                1. ATK just had a taste test of store-bought chicken broth yesterday (maybe it was old). Swanson's Organic Low Sodium was the winner, with Better Than Boullion as the runner-up. I don't think they said that it was "close to homemade" but it was at least acceptable. They also used it in two soup recipes on the show.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: CookingGirl

                    I use that exact store-bought stock for some applications...to me, it has no off flavors, and no strong flavors to speak of. It's great for sauces and some soups (a favorite at our house is tortellini soup with mushrooms...both of those just tossed into boiling broth and when the tortellini are cooked, the soup is ready). We never mistake it for homemade, though.

                    1. re: CookingGirl

                      All of the store-bought one just taste like chicken-water. They don't have any body at all.
                      To me, there's more than just taste going on in a decent chicken stock. It should have some mouth feel and texture to add to a dish.
                      I don't know why they bother. Why not just give us drops of chicken flavor that we can add to our own water at home? I usually end up using chicken base but at a much lower proportion because of the salt.

                      1. re: MakingSense

                        The key distinction there is broth vs. stock. Stock has the collagen (and eventually gelatin) that give the wonderful mouth feel.

                        Broth doesn't have the same properties. For me, the flavored water bit is just fine in some cases.

                        1. re: ccbweb

                          ccbweb, I think the distinction you made is apt and I agree. I will occasionally use broth if need be (I'm a little OCD about making stock from every carcass!), and think that real stock has its more-than-justifiable place, vis-a-vis mouth feel and such. Say, when you're making a soup. Not so much if I'm making an emergency risotto on a Wednesday night, in which case I may use cartoned broth if I had no stock in the freezer.

                          I'll fall out on this side: make stock when you can (crockpot=wonderful, but I still make gallons in a stockpot when need be), but (purchased) broth can be useful, especially when you see it as a seasoning. Other ingreds. can add the mouth-feel, in some cases.

                          I still encourage the OP to try the simplified stock-making suggestions herein. A large part of me thinks there are no real shortcuts, but I keep my mind open!

                      2. re: CookingGirl

                        Sorry, I beg to disagree. If I don't have any homemade in freezer or time to make, I prefer College Inn chicken or beef broth. Not sure if it is regional to Ohio or Midwest but really don't care for Swanson's, not as much strength as College Inn.