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Troubleshooting Pressure Cooker Stock

Having read posts on this site about the success of using a pressure cooker for making stock, I thought this may be a great way to clear out my freezer of the chicken bones I had been saving. I did not get the crystal clear stock which supposedly is derived simply from using a pressure cooker and I am wondering what I did wrong.

I put 3 lbs of backs, necks, and chicken tenders in my 7 litre (approx 7 quart) presssure with leeks, onion, carrot, celery and a tiny head of broccoli. I filled the pot 3/4 with cold water and brought the cooker up to pressure and kept it there for 45 minutes. I then took the pressure cooker of the heat and allowed it to depressurize on its own before opening up the cooker.

The result was a rich broth but not the clear stock everyone raved about. I strained the liquid twice. Once with a fine sieve and the second time through two layer of cheeseclothe. If I was making this the traditional way, there would be skimming of liquid and the vegetables would not be added until a later stage.

Any tips?

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  1. What level of clarity are you expecting? Pressure cooker stocks are more clear than traditionally cooked stocks, but they arent the level of clarity of a consomme. For that you are either going to have to go the old school rout and make a raft, or do the freezer/cheesecloth method. Was your stock extremely cloudy or just not the level of clarity you were expecting?.

    1. I agree with Twyst - a pressure cooker stock isn't any clearer than a well made traditional stock. You can still make it into a consomne if you want, and that would involve either the traditional egg raft method or ice filtration.

      That said, there are a few things you can do for clearer stock in a pressure cooker. Right off the bat, refrigerate the stock overnight to let the fat settle on top, and then skim that layer. The remaining stock will probably be a bit clearer. Since you don't skim while cooking, more fat is incorporated into the PC stock than would be in a tradional stock. The upside is that if you made it right, it hasn't fully emulsified and will settle on top of the stock if you refrigerate it overnight.

      A couple more passes through cheesecloth or even a slow pass through a coffee filter might help.

      Next time you make stock if you're concerned about clarity, consider bringing the chicken to a boil briefly and then throwing out that water before starting with cold water again - that should help a bit with clarity as well, maybe give a cleaner taste.

      Next time, also make sure that extra fat and skin are trimmed away before cooking.

      1. The replies already here are probably best--I don't think the PC method is about getting the stock "crystal clear." The main advantage of the PC is speed.

        But one further possibility is that there was some organ meat attached to the backs, like shreds of kidney or even bits of liver or gizzard from the giblets bagging. That can color a stock and even add some off flavors sometimes. But you are probably already aware of that.

        1. Thanks for the tips. The stock was quite cloudy. I guess given false expectations of my pressure all technique went out the door.

          I started with frozen bits so going forward I am going to trim the items before they go in my stock scraps bagss so I don't need to thaw and trim the scraps.I will also start with the first boil and dump method next time I try making it again.

          Since I used mostly necks and backs with some chicken tenders could my bone ratio be too high?

          1. You held it at pressure way too long and that is why it came out cloudy. Bring the pot to pressure and reduce heat so that the weight is rocking very slowly. After 15min. turn off heat and allow pressure to reduce on its own. Just strain and you are done. Clear and strong stock.

            4 Replies
            1. re: chefj

              I've never gotten cloudy stock and hold mine at pressure for an hour plus a natural cool down. I also do no skimming. I do stain through paper towels but mostly it catches the big stuff and holds back a lot of the fat. But the stock is not what I would call cloudy prior to straining. Just has bones, fat and large particles floating

              PIc of stock being reduced after straining

               
              1. re: scubadoo97

                I imagine with the addition of the chick meat and the blood and protein there in, you end up with it dissolved into the broth.
                I also end with a clear stock though much darker than yours and needs only a regular mesh strainer.
                The biggest difference I see with my method and the O.P.'s if the meat and the cooking time (oh and Broccoli?). Do have another though on why his/hers came out cloudy? May be they cook at too high heat after pressure is reached?

                1. re: chefj

                  This batch was turkey and had nothing but bones and trimmings. No veggies which would color the stock some

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    Yep, I put quite a bit of carrot in mine so the color is especially golden. But I use it all for soup rather than a base stock.