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chicken stock

  • Soop May 23, 2010 04:13 PM
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just made some with a bunch of reduced chicken wings:
how much stock should 8 make:
it tasts a little greasy, what's up?
do you need to add salt?

it's my first one,so thanks you lovely people you :)

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  1. 8 wings or 8 pounds? If the former, hardly worth the effort. You'd be lucky to get a pint; more likely a cup, unless it's REALLY weak.

    8 Replies
    1. re: greygarious

      Heh, yes, eight wings won't make a dent; better to freeze them away for later. Eight lbs is a different matter. If the stock is greasy, it needs to be skimmed; best way to do that is to chill it and remove the congealed fat from the surface. The chilling will allow you to get virtually all of the fat removed. You can save the fat for other uses, btw.

      Salt gets added to stock when you're cooking with it, not while it's being made. Think of stock as a blank canvas for creating a dish; everything added to stock enhances it and the stock supports everything added to it.

      Mm, I hope that last statement I made is not too obtuse an explanation. Perhaps I should go to bed. Anyway, don't salt your stock until you actually cook with it.

      1. re: bushwickgirl

        I hope this post doesn't read as being argumentative towards bushwickgirl because that is not my intent.
        I'm just replying here with a "While we're on the subject of salt" mindset .......

        I too have never salted my stock when making it, but in addition to what the well respected Sam Fujisaka said in this post-

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/513184

        and from my current reading of 'The Zuni Cafe Cookbook" where Judy Rodgers says she always adds at least some salt to extract flavors that can't be had any other way, I'm going to have to at least try it once.

        1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

          I take no offense, that's what chowhound is for, dissemination and sharing of information and, at times, lively discussion.

          I keep stock in the freezer and am not concerned about preservation beyond that, but certainly agree with Sam's post that salt acts as a preservative. It takes quite a bit of salt to preserve food.

          I don't have the Zuni Cafe Cookbook, (ate there once, though,) can't comment on the chef's method, but salt does extract flavor from food that can't be done in other ways. However, stock making is flavor extraction by it's very nature and process. No one drinks stock straight out of the pot; it functions as a base for a dish.

          Both theories are sound, but I prefer non-salted stock as a base, and prefer to add seasoning when I cook with the stock; seasoning in that manner seems much more controllable to me, somewhat like using unsalted butter for baking and adding a controlled amount of salt to the formula, rather than guessing about the salt content in (salted) the butter. Although, with salted stock, you can always taste and adjust seasoning accordingly.

          Now, if you want to discuss broth making, that's a different matter, and that I do season when the cooking process is completed.

          Believe me, I'm not salt phobic in any sense of the word, either; that's got nothing to do with my choice not to salt. When you try it, please let us know what you think.

          Thank you for your thoughful, informative post.;-}

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            I agree about leaving the salt out. It's no problem to add at the end, but if you reduce a liquid after adding stock, it is ruined if concentration makes it too salty. My life would be a lot simpler if no prepared foods or ingredients contained salt, so I had complete control over the saltiness of the end result.

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              Thanks for not taking offense bushwickgirl. Now, I hope you don't mind (in order to keep from adding multiple replies to this thread that all start with, "According to Zuni....") if I use this space to pass on some of what I read before having to return the book to the library:

              1. As for the salt, which she says needs to go in with the veggies at the beginning in order to properly do it's job, she uses about 1 teaspon for 4 quarts of liquid and 5-1/2 pounds of chicken "parts". She says you should not be able to taste it.

              2. Adjust your pan accordingly for the amount of chicken you are using - The size is important so that the "pile" is as tall as it is wide - this will help you get the correct amount of water.

              3. To avoid having to reduce the stock (because, "you can't evaporate the water without changing the character of the flavor components themselves.") don't add too much water.

              4. Don't stir while simmering so that the fat forms a "cap" on the top, and don't skim the fat off either.

              5. Steady heat - gentle simmer - keep fluctuation to a minimum - too high or too low a simmer will affect the flavor.

              6. Strain as soon as possible after it's done to avoid a "bony" flavor.

              1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                I just recently bought that book but so far have only fixed the chicken and bread salad. I will definitely try her technique, esp. because I don't salt my stock. Thanks, Bryan.

                1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                  "she uses about 1 teaspon for 4 quarts of liquid and 5-1/2 pounds of chicken "parts". She says you should not be able to taste it."

                  No, you won't taste the salt, it's not meant for seasoning; the chef uses the salt to draw out flavor from the mirepoix. Four quarts of liquid to 5.5 lb of chicken pasts is a high concentration of meat/bone to liquid; no wonder she advocates avoiding reduction; this is quite an important point.

                  The fine points for making a chicken stock are definitely covered. Thanks for posting this info, Bryan.

                2. re: bushwickgirl

                  i'm also with bushwickgirl, i limit salt in something i will store for future use for one simple reason: you can always add but not remove. if i want stronger flavor and decide to intensify and reduce the stock for a certain recipe, then it would be too salty if it had been pre-seasoned.

          2. It might be greasy because wings are mostly fat...I've read that somewhere...next time, might be good to mix it up with some necks? ribs with some meat attached? Just my 2 cents...KEEP TRYING...homemade stock is superb, soop!

            1 Reply
            1. re: Val

              Stock made with all wings is great, as they have lots of collagen, but as with any chicken stock, defatting is essential.

            2. chill it so you can lift off the fat. yes to salt. and if indeed it was 8 wings freeze them until you have a few pounds next time.

              1 Reply
              1. re: appycamper

                I always chill and lift off the fat. I never salt. That way I can use it any way I want later.

              2. Booo :( I only feasably had time to start right away, and I probably poured in WAY too much water. The 8 wings are about the size of my hand though.

                I used: 1 carrot, 1 leek, 1 onion, 2 celery sticks, 3 bay leaves, rosemary, pepper.

                It does taste a little weak though. Also, I put a lid on it, where I think perhaps I should have let it reduce.

                I reckon I made about 2 litres of stock.

                9 Replies
                1. re: Soop

                  Just checked, and it's 900g of chicken wings so nearly 2lbs.

                  Another thing, I broke the bones the way I say Jamie Oliver do once with the spine of his knife. Ought I to not do that with my heavy global?

                  1. re: Soop

                    It's a fair bet that your stock tastes weak because it isn't salted. Take a small sample, add a pinch of salt, and see what you think. If the stock is still too weak, clarify it if it's cloudy, then reduce it over low heat.

                    Bashing the bones with your knife won't hurt anything. Except maybe the knife. Or your forehead (watch that backswing). On the other hand, it's not really necessary; a couple of hours of simmering and the bones will have given up so much of their substance that they'll crumble if you mash them between your thumb and forefinger.

                    1. re: alanbarnes

                      I never salt my stock when making it and it's good enough to eat out of the (crock) pot). But I use a whole chicken so I'm sure that makes a big difference.

                      1. re: alanbarnes

                        Cracking the raw bones is so that the marrow can add flavor to the stock, which won't happen otherwise. It may be desirable for leg and thigh bones, but the wing bones are too small to have consequential amounts of marrow.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          Ive read that, and for years made a point of cracking chicken bones before putting them in the stock pot. And I think it's a useful tip if you're only going to simmer for a few minutes to an hour or so.

                          But I tend to make long-simmered stocks, and by the time they're done there's no flavor left in the marrow or anywhere else. The large bones disintegrate easily because all the soluble materials they contained - including in the marrow - are now part of the stock.

                          There's also the taste test. I can't tell a difference between stock made with whole bones and stock made with cracked bones. So it isn't worth the hassle to me. YMMV.

                    2. re: Soop

                      Reduce that down, and you'll have a much better product.

                      I make stock from all sorts of parts. One of the best I've had recently was from a big bag of drumsticks I bought for some bizarre reason. I roasted them and they made **the** perfect stock.

                      I have a heavy stainless steel-blade chef's knife I use for things like cracking bones, opening plastic packaging and other tasks I don't want to submit my good carbon steel blades to. You'd be surprised how many times it's just the thing you need -- and it can go in the dishwasher when you're done.

                      1. re: dmd_kc

                        I agree that 8 wings is too little to justify the effort (unless you're experimenting). Regarding the amount of water to use, the rule of thumb I learned is to put your chicken parts (bones, frames, etc.) and vegetables in the pot and put in enough water to cover them, plus about a half-inch more (I was taught to use the first joint of my index finger as my measure).

                        1. re: lawmann

                          Skimming any scum that accumulates on the surface is easier if you are generous with the amount of water. Since I don't cover the pot, I fill it as much as possible. There's a lot of evaporation, and if the final result needs reduction, that's easy to do. I usually cook it down until it's pretty concentrated, so as to save freezer space.

                          1. re: greygarious

                            I highly recommend greygarious' method. It took me years to figure out that I could achieve a clearer stock by adding extra water to make the skimming easier. After that, reducing to concentrate takes extra time, but no extra effort.

                    3. Ok, I reduced it to about half a pint yesterday; it's very dark brown, and it had a gelatinous film over it. I kept that. Is that good?

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Soop

                        It should be gelled throughout, with a congealed fat layer on top, that you can remove if you want to. You can reduce it again if it doesn't taste strong enough.

                        1. re: greygarious

                          hmm. Wonder what's going on? It's in the freezer so I suppose we'll have to wait to find out.

                          1. re: Soop

                            You make it sound so suspenseful, Soop, like the stock is doing something clandestine in the freezer.

                            If it's still tastes too weak when you thaw it, you might want to consider using it as a part of the liquid portion for your next batch. I love twice-ccoked stock, but don't often have the time or the meat to spare. My own batch of stock came out a little weak yesterday, but I was crunched for time, so I added a few drops of soy and called it a day.

                            1. re: onceadaylily

                              Good idea. Or use it for broth rather than stock.

                              1. re: onceadaylily

                                It's dark brown, so I imagine it must be fairly strong... I don't even know when I can use it!

                                1. re: Soop

                                  make some bourguignon or irish stew and use that stock to find out. you could probably even use that for bubble n' squeak or to make baked beans.

                        2. Just when you think you've enough chicken... double the amount.

                          We follow the Chinese style, using backs/breastplates/wing-tips and feet. No dark meat at all (that's boned out and used in sautees... delicious!)

                          The only vegetables we use are a bit of scallion and some ginger. And we do make certain there's a trace amount of salt in the stock.

                          When I make chicken *soup,* I then add the mire-poix of sweet onion, carrot and celery (as well as plenty of flat parsley) that adds flavor.

                          1. Finally got around to using it! When I defrosted it, it was really thick and gelatinous. I could pick it up at one end and lift it out in one piece.

                            Well, I ended up using it pretty much as-is for gravy, and it was superb. I can't remember how much it cost, but it probably wasn't worth doing again just for gravy.

                            Cooked it with a big chicken that was reduced to £2.50, and there's still loads for sandwiches!