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Jun 15, 2010 01:27 PM

Parboiling chicken bones for soup stock?

I've been researching recipes to make a rich, golden chicken stock. When I make a beef stock for Pho, I parboil the beef bones. From what I understand, this process gets rid of impurities like blood and fat that would otherwise cloud the stock. But I have not found any recipes that call for parboiling chicken bones for chicken stock. I did find one recipe by Bobby Flay that calls for pre-roasting the parts. And I've read that parboiling beef bones yields better results than roasting.

Does anyone have experience parboiling chicken bones for stock, or know why most recipes don't call for it?

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  1. If I am using a whole chicken (not just the bones), then I parboil it before making stock.

    If it's just bones (no meat), then no I do not parboil first.

    1. I always parboil, whether it is whole chicken or chicken bones. In fact I just deboned 16 chicken breasts (frozen them individually wrapped in plastic, then into freeze bags) and used all the bones last night to make a light broth. I added cold water to the bones and let it come to a boil. Let this boil til all the scum is out of the bones (whole chicken or chicken pieces).
      I usually remove some of the scum as it is boiling, then I drain in a colinder and rinse all the bones in cold running water, in a way, you can say I am washing off any scum that may have stuck on the bones/chicken pieces. I then wash the pot with soap and water and once everything is clean, I add the bones/chicken piece back in the pot and add cold water and start the process of making broth. I add my veggies and simmer. Last night I started late, so I left the pot on the stove overnight at the lowest level. This morning wake up to beautiful, clear, lovely chicken broth. The key to clear broth is to never let the broth come to a boil, a simple simmer, it's the boiling that clouds the I'm sure you know. Hope this helps.

      1. I never parboil anything when making stock. I do sometimes roast beef bones and similar ingredients (not chicken) before using them to prepare a stock, but because parboiling means I loose some of the flavor, and stock that's short on flavor is as waste of time and money IMO, I simply rely on filtering the stock if I want to clarify it.

        5 Replies
        1. re: todao

          Todao, just curious, how can par-boiling whatever your chosen bones for 15 mins, lose flavor? Doesn't it take hours of gentle simmering to develope flavor and gelatin?
          Just wondering....

          1. re: heylids

            Operative word is "boil". My training taught me that stock should never rise above a simmer, and that extracting all of the flavor from the ingredients (including the flavors in the elements that may create a cloudy stock that needs to be filtered) is the primary goal in preparing a stock. If I want a pure and clear stock, without evidence of cloudiness, I use egg whites to draw out the offending elements. But it's rare that the stock I need for a given recipe won't work without being completely clear so the task of clarifying stock to that degree isn't a large issue.

            1. re: todao

              Thank you for your response. I agree that stock should never rise above a simmer and boiling is a big no no. However, I am referring to boiling in the concept of getting rid of the scum from the bones/meat. Once this has been achieved, the scum and the water is drained out via a colander then the bones/meat refreshed/rinsed with cold water. At this point the process begins again as normal, fill pot with cold water, add bones/meat, simmer over a period of time then add veg. herbs etc.
              I am confused as to what you mean by "extracting all the flavor from the ingredients (including the flavors in the elements that may create a cloudy stock that needs to be filtered) is the primary goal in preparing a stock".
              What can the scum from bone/meat possible add to the flavour of a stock?
              I am also wondering, do you always clarify stock even if it is for a simple chicken soup or straccatella? Once again, thank you for your insights.

              1. re: heylids

                I'm not todao, but I parboil (bones only, unless I roast first), never clarify or strain.

                Just skim if there is obvious scum or foam on the top, but that's it.