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Sep 13, 2012 07:11 AM

Making Chicken Stock from carcass?

Ok, I am new at this and I'm worried I did something wrong.

On Monday night I made a roast organic chicken... it was delicious. The cavity was stuffed with onions and celery and I coated it with a bit of wine, olive oil, and fresh herbs.

After dinner, around 9 PM I decide to make stock from the carcass. I put it in an enameled pot along with onions, celery, carrots, a chopped up leek, garlic cut in half and herbs, 2 Tablespoons of vinegar, salt + 15 cups of water. It really didn't start boiling until 10 PM.

My intention was to let it simmer on low overnight, but this is a new apartment and I'm new to having a gas stove. I found I didn't sleep very well worrying about it! Finally around 3 AM I went in and turned off the burner (the lid was on).

Around 6 when I got up for work, the pan was cooled enough to touch (it was quite warm). I turned it on high again and boiled for about 30 minutes, then turned it off, strained it into a bowl and put it in the fridge.

I forgot to do anything with it Tuesday night but Wednesday morning first thing I portioned the stock into jars and froze them.

So the problem? I just made a pot pie with some of the frozen stock, and I thought it tasted a little odd. It's not that it tastes spoiled, just very "chickeny"... there is a kind of weird taste in the background that I don't care for, almost instinctively. I'm wondering if it is from the leek? Or maybe the 3 hours off-heat is enough for it to spoil (considering it then went back to boil, though?), or could it just be that stock from a carcass will taste different?

So, should I eat the pie anyway? I'm kind of poor so I hate to throw it out, the only reason I would is if it was really spoiled...

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  1. Everything you did was OK ... except adding the vinegar. How did you happen to do this? That was your off taste. I've been making chicken broth practically forever and never added vinegar... BTW: If you have a slow cooker chicken broth can be made overnight safely and the outcome is delicious,

    28 Replies
    1. re: Gio

      Oh, great idea! I do have a slow-cooker. I will do that next time... I kept having visions of the flame getting blown out and us all dying from natural gas inhalation (ok not very realistic, but...)

      I added the vinegar on a recommendation from a cookbook. The claim was that it would help get minerals out of the bones and make a healthier stock. Maybe I will cut that down or eliminate it next time...

      1. re: emmeisix

        The vinegar did not create the off "chicken-y" taste.

        It was most likely the chicken.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          I make chicken stock every couple of months and keep it in the freezer. Sometimes I cook it for a couple of days in a huge stock pot. I may let it cool. Strain. Add a few more chickens (my double or triple chicken stock) and simmer another day. It has to cool before it goes in the fridge and it takes a while. Three hours off the heat is very unlikely to be a problem. (Two days of forgotten turkey stock in the garage during a mild November would be a huge problem, as I learned last Thanksgiving when I tried to boil the scary looking bubbling liquid and use it for gravy. No I did not serve it.) The vinegar could certainly be a problem. My biggest issue is using a cooked carcass for the stock. It just doesn't produce much flavor. If I used a carcass, I would add a lot of chicken parts, wings, thighs, feet......and then why bother with the carcass? Turkey carcasses are different. They have more flavor. As to your question about the leek. I love leeks in my chicken stock but once I added too many of them and the flavor was just not great.

        2. re: emmeisix

          Slow cooker is the only way I make stock now. It's so easy and worry free.

          I let mine go 24hrs.


          1. re: Davwud

            Really? I did this once and got a grey bland stock. Smelled perfect but I think the lack of evaporation made for a watery not super exciting outcome.

            1. re: chinaplate

              You can always concentrate it after.


          2. re: emmeisix

            Keep a look out for bargains on the stock pot. I got mine for $20.00 and it is so handy to have. Add some yellow onions with the skin on next time to your broth and you will get a golden broth. Your chicken might have developed a smell from being exposed to air, oxidized perhaps which does put on off smell on food.

          3. re: Gio

            Adding vinegar is quite common in making stocks. It helps dissolve the gelatin and leach out more minerals (e.g. calcium) from the bones.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Learn something new every day ... Tnx

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Would adding citric acid do the same thing?

                1. re: EWSflash

                  Squeeze of lemon, a bit of wine, or vinegar all work. Even vodka.

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    Then citric acid should work, right?

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      You've moved into two different solvents there, ipse. One is acetic acid acid, the other is ethanol. Both have their place in my stock extraction.

                    2. re: EWSflash

                      Save the citric acid for dry applications. Vinegar is cheaper.

                    3. re: ipsedixit

                      I have never heard of this in 35 years in professional kitchens.

                      1. re: chefj

                        I read about it in Adelle Davis's cookbook. She thought the vinegar would evaporate.

                        1. re: sr44

                          It may. I was just surprised that I had never heard of it in all those years.

                        2. re: chefj

                          Well, I've heard and read it in many recipes and health columns for at least 20 years, FWIW.

                          1. re: Karl S

                            Yes I have never read it in a "gourmet" type cookbook, but it is mentioned in several of my diehard-whole-foodist type cookbooks. I'm not sure high mineral content adds to the flavor in a obviously positive way so maybe it's not as interesting to chefs?

                            1. re: emmeisix

                              Many chefs, esp. in professional settings, make stock with an eye towards consumme, so they really care about appearance and clarity. Trying to leach out as many minerals as possible from bones, etc. sort of defeats that purpose.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Yes. Though I can still produce a reasonably clear consomme with via the raft method even though I included vinegar in the stock pot.

                                Also, some diehards will make a second batch of stock from the same set of bones. and the vinegar not be the best thing to add the first time if you want two shots at those bones.

                          2. re: chefj

                            I have never heard of using vinegar in stock either, and chicken stock is my big thing. I read about it all the time. Have been making it since my son was little and I had to work so much I felt like a terrible mom. I have used lemon zest or a little juice. I like that flavor but didn't know there was any reason for the acid. Why necessary to dissolve the gelatin? It dissolves when you heat the stock up again. I like adding chicken feet to my stock because of the added gelatin. And by the time my stock is done, I don't think there are any minerals left in the bones. I would not add vinegar. Ruthie is right about leaving the skins on the yellow onions for a deeper golden color. Browning some of the poultry parts before adding to the stock does that as well. She is also right about bargains in stock pots. For some reason, my huge All-Clad stock pot was only about $45. All-Clad sautee pans can run over $200!

                            1. re: Willa

                              You could use any acid: it helps leach more minerals from the bones than without. White vinegar is usually recommended because it has the least noticeable flavor of an acid (other than tasting acidic), but you can use lemon juice.

                        3. re: Gio

                          Slow cooker - YES. I've been doing this for several years and it's way easier. Sauté your mirepoix, dump that onto the chicken carcass(es) or other chicken bones, add a bouquet garni bag (I use a large bay leaf, cracked peppercorns, and some thyme leaves), fill with water, and let it go on low, covered, for 24 hours. Strain it into a large bowl, let it cool, skim the layer of fat that has risen to the top, and then spoon it into small 1- or 2-cup containers for freezing.

                          And I'd skip the vinegar as well. Have never heard of adding that. Try it once without, emmesix, and see if it's more to your liking.

                          1. re: LindaWhit

                            This is almost exactly as I do it...same seasonings and the slow cooker for 24 (or more) hours. Except-

                            I use vinegar in mine for the added health benefit. Just a splash of natural apple cider vinegar, it doesn't take much. You don't taste it in the finished stock whatsoever. This is certainly for health reasons, not taste. Adding egg shells with the vinegar too -will add calcium to the stock with no taste difference as well.

                            Another benefit is the stock "gels" much better (thicker) than without the vinegar, IME. Put a splash in your crock next time Linda and see if you notice any difference.

                            1. re: sedimental

                              Interesting, I've never had a problem with the stock "setting up" as it cools. It's always a loose Jello-like gel that I get after it sits in the downstairs fridge overnight. Allows me to skim off any fat that's risen to the top while cooling, and then it scoops out with a ladle to put into my freezer containers.

                              But I will try the apple cider vinegar next time. When you say "natural", how is that different from a store-brand of apple cider vinegar?

                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                Yes, the stock sets up either way, but I think it is thicker with the vinegar. I might just have to do an experiment :)

                                I just buy the Braggs brand of vinegar- organic, cloudy, unfiltered kind (that you have to shake up) all that is in it is organic apples and water. I just prefer it (taste wise, health wise- and I like the company). I haven't used regular filtered store brands so I am not sure if they are as neutral taste or not. Might not make a difference but sometimes certain brands taste stronger than others.

                                1. re: sedimental

                                  Thanks for mentioning this Sedimental. I always have the Bragg's apple cider in the pantry so I suppose I should try it in my next batch of stock. I made chicken stock 2 nights ago my usual way... like Linda's... and it gelled perfectly, as always, but the vinegar and egg shells are alien yet interesting additions for me.

                        4. Except that I too don't see why you'd include vinegar in your chicken stock, I disagree almost entirely with the statement "Everything you did was OK.
                          Because I don't how much time elapsed between "after dinner" and "10PM" I can't say whether or not you waited longer than you should have to start the stock. You don't want to delay starting stock from a carcass very long if you wish to avoid the development of bacterial contamination.
                          Turning off the burner at 3AM and leaving a pot of stock for sit, covered, for three hours suggests a breeding ground for a lab experiment and depending on what might develop in that environment you're fortunate not to have become ill. Once food temperatures fall below 140 degrees you risk the production of bacteria that can prove dangerous. I'm acquainted with a cook who forgot a covered pot of chicken stock on the stove (burners off) in the morning and by 5 o'clock that evening it was impossible to lift the lid without gagging from the odor of the contaminated stock.
                          As for the undesirable flavor, could be the leeks but not everyone tastes foods in the same way so that's not identifiable.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: todao

                            Well, I haven't eaten the stock yet. Dinner was late in the day, and basically as soon as I ate (20 minutes after it came out), I cleaned the chicken (it was still really hot and kind of hard to do) & started the stock. It just took me a while to chop everything and bring it up to boil.

                            I guess I'm more worried about the 3 hour period. Starting from boiling, it would take (guessing) an hour or so to drop below 140... so is 2 hours at conducive temperatures enough to spoil? I kind of doubt it, given the usual food safety guidelines...

                            I guess it would help if I knew what soured stock smelled like... maybe I should leave some out on purpose. :)

                            1. re: emmeisix

                              Well, I ate some of pie and it was pretty darn good! I will let you know if I get violently ill later.

                              1. re: emmeisix

                                If the pot was simmering with the lid on and you just turned it off and didn't take the lid off, it should have been sterilized. If it's a tight fitting lid that is.

                                Two weeks ago I made a huge pot of red beans and rice. The pot was way too big for my fridge so I brought it up to a good simmer, lidded it and turned off the heat about 5 minutes later. I didn't touch it for 2 days. It was perfectly fine.


                          2. Provided the carcass and broth were kept within the safe zone, I think it was the use of the vinegar to soften the bones.

                            Have you had bone broth before? It has nutritive value but the taste is different than regular broth - more mineral flavor. You can achieve this without vinegar with a long slow simmer. I find the bones become very soft after 12+ hours in a slow crock pot.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: meatn3

                              Yeah, that may just be it. Also the stock was very thick from all the gelatin, and cloudy... it was definitely different than what I have gotten from boiling a chicken with an onion, for example.

                              1. re: meatn3

                                But why avoid the vinegar? Any taste from the vinegar is cooked off by the time the stock is done. Vinegar simply speeds up the process.

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  Just troubleshooting! I have been able to taste a very slight difference in flavor with vinegar - not enough to change the flavor substantially. At this point I'm leaning towards the mineral flavor being what emmeisix noticed.

                                1. re: rasputina

                                  Rosemary and Thyme, fresh (in the broth). For the chicken, I used the same plus dried Marjoram.

                                2. The stock is fine. There was an article about leaving stock out. Here's the link.


                                  Based on what you did and comparing to what the writer did, you're fine. I know others will pipe in that you should never take any risk and throw the stock out.

                                  I think though that you put in a lot of things that could have introduced unusual flavors to the stock. Onion, celery, leeks are typical. Vinegar is not typical. I just use a really long cooking time to extract everything. Rosemary isn't a usual herb. 15 cups of water is a lot for one chicken carcass. A entire head of garlic seems like way too much. A roiling boil will make stock cloudy. Low simmer will make for a clearer stock.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: Bkeats

                                    Good points. I did not know about the rolling vs simmering. I think next time I will do the crock pot, with less water (lower boil, less to boil off anyway), and skip he vinegar. So far, not sick, by the way. :)

                                    1. re: emmeisix

                                      I use the crock pot all the time. Works great for me, but not all crocks are the same.
                                      Sometime before doing your next batch you might want to do a trial run with just water in order to determine what settings yours requires to a) get the temperature out of the danger zone in the proper amount of time and b) maintain a multi-hour simmer once out of the danger zone.
                                      if you have one of the newer crocks that run hotter than the old ones, you may end up having to prop the lid a bit to keep it from boiling or search the web to learn about alternative methods of crock pot temperature control.

                                    2. re: Bkeats

                                      I think BKeats has a point about the rosemary. Rosemary is a wonderful herb with roast chicken, but I'd be hesitant to simmer it for hours in a stock since it can get a soapy taste if overdone. If the OP doesn't think it's an off taste from the vinegar, I'd guess there was too much of a good thing -- rosemary.

                                      1. re: team_cake

                                        That is very possible... "soapy" sounds very close to the off taste. I will definitely omit from the broth next time. Fortunately the taste was mild enough that it you couldn't really taste it in the pie. :)

                                        1. re: emmeisix

                                          Leeks can taste soapy, too. But having been disappointed with cooked bone stocks, even when there's a good bit of cooked meat on them, I now always add raw chicken when making stock. Without it, though the stock gels well, it is gray, weak in chicken flavor, and minerally-tasting (and that is without vinegar, which I have never used in stockmaking),