Low Fat Stock Question.
Is making a stock "low fat" simply refrigerating it and then peeling off the cold layer of fat on the top of the stock? Or would it be better to use a skinless boneless chicken for example?
Peel off the fat. You really need the skin and bones to make a good stock -- that's where all the depth of flavor and the body will come from. IMO, you can make a good stock with just bones, but you can't make good stock with just meat.
I always use a whole chicken carcass, with skin and bones. Or I even use Costco carcass (with the leg meat left intact), and it makes delicious stock. I do refrigerate it overnight and skim the fat off the top. It completely congeals so it's easy removal.
Making stock with boneless, skinless chicken would not give much of a chicken flavor I think.
You're halfway there. Make it with bone-in, skinless chicken, but you'll still get some intramuscular fat.
I believe the skin adds minimal flavor, but it isn't much trouble to defat it by chilling it. I only leave it on when I'm working with an already-cooked carcass whose meat I've served elsewhere.
Skin adds quite a lot of flavor, but, most importantly, it adds an incredible amount of texture to stock. Taking the skin out of stock is like taking chocolate chips out of chocolate chip cookies.
Sekelmaan, if your monitoring your fat carefully, be careful about the vegetables you put in stock, as they will break down into particles and the particles will suspend some fat/prevent it from floating to the top. The amount is pretty negligible, but, like I said, if you're counting every fat gram, it wouldn't hurt to nix the onions and carrots (and incorporate them later in recipes).
In slight disagreement with some posters: use bones (roasted if possible); do not use skin or meat; do use the feet, necks, and heads. Unctuous, flavorful, fully gelatinous when cold stock comes from the roasted bones and collagen in bones, feet, and all the gristly bits. Add the gizzards, hearts, livers, kidneys and the like at the beginning and remove (and enjoy) when ready. Skim the warm stock and/or remove the fat after refrigeration.
The keys are long and slow at low temperature, skimming foam, fine straining, and possibly using an egg white raft to clarify the stock.