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Dec 17, 2013 01:56 PM

Homemade chicken soup has a "burnt" taste to it, any ideas?

I made some chicken stock from scratch today in my electric pressure cooker with 4 fresh chicken thighs (bone in, skin on), carrots, celery, onion and garlic, sea salt and black pepper, and 6 quarts of water. I cooked it for about an hour.

Everything seemed fine (except the broth did look a little browner than usual), and I intended to turn the whole batch of stock into a soup. So I strained the broth, shredded the chicken, and added it all back to the pot with some Orzo, some fresh parsley, and about 1/2 tsp of turmeric for color.

I wanted to continue cooking it in my electric pressure cooker, rather than dirty another pot. The unit can also act like a burner (with the lid off), which I used to bring the broth to a boil then add the pasta and other ingredients. The thing I'm concerned about was it continued to be a rolling boil the rest of the time it cooked. There is no "simmer" mode on the unit.

I added a little water here and there along the way when it looked a little too reduced. But I noticed when it was done that it had a bit of a burnt taste to it.

Did the boiling rather than simmering possibly cause this? Was it the turmeric? Perhaps the sugars in the carrots/onions browned a bit? I'm trying to figure out what might have caused this, any ideas are appreciated.

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  1. I've boiled the crap out of chicken broth/soup and not had it taste burnt. As far as I know, you can't "burn" stuff that's boiling in liquid.

    Did you sauté anything at any point?

    I don't have a pressure cooker so have no idea if that could have done it. Someone else will have to answer.

    1. did you taste it before adding the turmeric?
      It might be the turmeric.

      But unless you defatted the stock before you boiled the heck out if it it could turn out quite greasy from emulsified fat. Bone in skin on thighs are pretty fatty.

      1 Reply
      1. re: C. Hamster

        The emulsion idea is an interesting one. If you boil and reduce stock before you strain it the fat and liquid emulsifes? I always strain then reduce but was wondering why I did it. It would be so much easier to just reduce while all the stuff is still in there. So is it necessary to strain before you reduce?

      2. Chicken broth/stock made in a pressure cooker is darker in color than that made at normal pressure, regardless of how concentrated. 4 thighs isn't nearly enough for 6 quarts of water. You'd need at least twice as much meat. I assume the vegetable flavors kept the stock from tasting too watery.

        Nothing can have burned so what you are perceiving must be something else. Sometimes celery can be extremely bitter, and as others have mentioned, the turmeric may have been the culprit.

          1. Sometimes when I pressure cook a dish with fat and starch in it , there's about a one inch ring of starchy stuff, sort of like a bathtub ring, just above the waterline where condensation has cooked onto the walls of the cooker. If you're cooking light colored food, it's easy not to see it. It usually doesn't affect the flavor of what's in the pot, but I've found if I don't empty the pot and scour it off completely before continuing to cook, it easily gets burned and transfers that burnt taste to the food. Maybe that's what happened with your stock.

            I also wonder if maybe the black pepper burned a bit during the pressure cooking. It seems like pressure cooking concentrates the flavor of black pepper a lot more than some other spices.

            If you like the flavor, one fix might be to add a little chipotle in adobo to mask the burnt taste.