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Feb 18, 2013 04:26 PM

Cook's Illustrated Quick Chicken Stock

I'm an an unapologetic Cook's Illustrated fan. But for many years I passed over their recipe for quick stock which uses boiling water and takes only an hour. I like stock that simmers for hours and ends up all gelatinous.

Well, I was in a rush and figured I'd give it a go. It's the next day, I just took it out of the fridge, and it's like jello.

I should have trusted them all along.

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      1. re: docfood

        Here's the recipe:

        Makes about 2 quarts Chicken pieces are sautéed and then sweated before being cooked in water for a rich but very quick stock. This is our favorite all-purpose stock. It takes about an hour to prepare.

        1. Heat the oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion; sauté until colored and softened slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the onion to a large bowl.

        2. Add half of the chicken pieces to the pot; sauté both sides until lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked chicken to the bowl with the onions. Sauté the remaining chicken pieces. Return the onions and chicken
        pieces to the pot. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken releases its juices, about 20 minutes.

        3. Increase the heat to high; add the boiling water, salt, and bay leaves. Return to a simmer, then cover and barely simmer until the stock is rich and flavorful, about 20 minutes.

        4. Strain the stock; discard the solids. Before using, defat the stock. The stock can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days or frozen for several months.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          ipse; Can you replace add 'the' with add 'this amount' to give us some better directions as to quantities of ingredients? Without, of course, being a total copy person:)

          Also, I have a bit of a First World double-take at 'discard the solids'.... after that little bit of time, can't you use the chicken breasts for chicken salad or something? It seems very wasteful, IMHO?

          1. re: gingershelley

            I wish I could, gingershelley, but that's all I have.

            Perhaps someone else can chime in who has the original recipe from the CI magazine.

            By the way, I do *not* use this technique for stock, much less endorse it in any way. I'm just passing along info.

            1. re: gingershelley

              1 onion, chopped
              4 pounds backs/wings or legs cut into 2 inch pieces. I used all legs and cut them in half (wish I had a cleaver)
              8 cups water
              2 bay leaves
              Salt. I have new and old versions of this recipe. Either 2 tsps-old or 1/2 tsp- new. I used 2.

              They also say you can cut up a whole chicken and use the breast meat when done. Brown the breasts, then take out and add back with the water, per Cooks.
              I didn't eat the chicken, but it did look good, unlike usual stock where it's pretty wasted. My dogs were happy.

        2. I wonder how that is scientifically possible.
          How's it taste?

          9 Replies
          1. re: Scoutmaster

            I think it's the act of cutting the chicken into pieces. It opens up the marrow.

            1. re: blackpippi

              Marrow does not make for good stock. It's the gelatin.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                I thought they were one and the same. Cooks says it "releases the juices. "

                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    I suspect that sweating the cooked chicken before the short boil both leaves the meat edible (unlike the stewing hens I use for long simmered stock, that are a cotton/cardboard product afterwards) and maybe also produces the gelatin. Would the sweating/braise cooking speed the breakdown of collagen into stock?

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  It's the collagen in the bones that makes for a gelatinous stock

                  1. re: Scoutmaster

                    Bones do not have collagen (or very little). Tendons (or connective tissue) and cartilage are collagen rich.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      Not true. I just re-confirmed this by watching (DVR'd) Alton's True Brew IV: Take Stock where he explains it quite well. Interesting; he says all homemade stocks, even if frozen, should be boiled for a full 2 minutes before using. He also says it should be used within 2 days or frozen. I've often left it in the fridge for a week with no ill effects. Then again, I have a cast iron stomach.

              2. Interesting. And it seems like maybe the chicken is still good to eat? I know I just throw away any chicken meat after a long cook.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Violatp

                  I would think the meat would be pretty dry after cooking for an hour, but I do admit to rescuing a chicken disaster by turning it into chicken salad. A very small dice/shred did the trick. Not my proudest moment, but it wasn't bad.

                  1. re: DuffyH

                    As an aside, how long does it take to poach/boil chicken if boiled/poached chicken is what you want?

                    1. re: Violatp

                      Nowhere near an hour, and it shouldn't boil for more than a moment. It's usually done with boneless, skinless chicken, usually the breast only -- sort of the opposite of the CI quick stock: Bring water with aromatics to a boil, add chicken, let return to boil, turn down and simmer for a few minutes, then turn off heat, let chicken sit in the liquid for 15-20 minutes.

                2. I think the so called "one hour" stock and the "3+ hours" stock are of different beasts. One if not better than the other, but one is not the same as the other neither.

                  So I won't say anything about trusting Cook's Illustrated or not. It is about what you want.