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Thread: Chicken Stock Newbie Here page

  1. #1
    Buffalo Chip's Avatar
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    Red face Chicken Stock Newbie Here

    Primal Fuel
    OK so I roasted my first chicken recently and saved all the bones and what not from the carcass.

    I've also been saving all my vegetable trimmings, like the greens from radishes and beets, celery and carrot pieces, etc.

    From my understanding, I can throw all of this into a crock pot, fill with water, add some (1/2 cup?) vinegar and let it heat for 12 hours or so. Afterwards, just pour through a sieve to strain out the solid pieces. That's how to make chicken stock.

    My questions:
    1) Do I have the procedure correct?
    2) How much water should I use to make stock from the carcass of 1 roasting chicken?
    3) Any salt or anything else needed? I notice store-bought bullion is mostly salt.

    There are a few recipes in the PB Cookbooks that require chicken stock, and I have a borcht recipe I've been meaning to try that also wants chicken stock.

    I've never done it before, so any tips to make this experiment "idiot proof" (hey, that's me) would be appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    AndreaReina's Avatar
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    You got it: simmer bones in weakly acidic water for hours, then strain out solids. You'll want to skim the foam that forms (affects the taste), and no need to salt.

    I have not to this date found a standard amount of water to be used for stockmaking, other than "enough to cover everything". That usually ends up being a lot of water since bones don't stack very efficiently, so the next step after simmering for however long you're doing it (12-48 hours for poultry, usually) is to reduce the strained stock to about a pint per pound of bones. At that point you're about ready to use it in whatever you want: soups, reduced for sauce, added to shredded meat to add moisture and flavor, the list goes on.

    You'll probably want to de-fat the stock. Why? Stock is an ingredient and there will be times you don't want to add fat along with for textural or taste reasons. Just chill the stock and separate the hardened fat, and store it in a separate container to use later. A basic stock isn't seasoned with salt, herbs, or spices for the same reasons, you want to maintain the versatility. You can always add them later, but you can't take them out once in -- this is especially important when you're e.g. reducing stock down to a sauce, all of a sudden the salt and spices just got concentrated more than 10x.

    If you've got the time, go ahead and let it simmer for more than just 12 hours, the taste (and nutrition) will be better. Just keep topping the water up whenever it goes below the level of the bones.

  3. #3
    Doddibot's Avatar
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    Stocks are very forgiving, because basically anything is more tasty than the plain water you started with. But it can get pretty complicated when you start trying to aim for just the right taste, clarity and consistency.

    Stocks can be made in less time by using a pressure cooker, and by increasing the surface area by dicing the ingredients finely (but not so fine you can't sieve them out). That includes breaking up the bones as much as you can.
    "Thanks to the combination of meat, calcium-rich leaf foods, and a vigorous life, the early hunter-gatherers were robust, with strong skeletons, jaws, and teeth." - Harold McGee, On Food And Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

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    1/2 cup of vinegar is too much - just a couple tablespoons will do. You don't want it to taste like vinegar!

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    Buffalo Chip's Avatar
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    OK everyone, thanks for the tips! This sounds easy enough that even I can do it. I'll start the stock now in the crock pot and then go to bed.

  6. #6
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    Easy with the greens. If it's things like stems it should be fine, but if they're leafy greens then boiling them for a long long time will make the stock bitter. If you want to add greens only do so for the last half hour or so.

  7. #7
    Ajax's Avatar
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    I regularly make my own chicken stock. Some tips:

    -Start with cold water, never hot.

    -Add some herbs and spices: A bayleaf, a few peppercorns, a few whole allspices, a couple sprigs of thyme, rosemary and parsley. Stud the onion you are putting in the stock with a clove.

    -For vegetables, I limit myself to a couple carrots, couple stalks of celery, a few garlic cloves and an onion. Remember it's a stock, not a trash can Beet and radish greens are likely to add some funky tastes to the stock so I would avoid them. Leak tops and mushroom stems on the other hand make great additions.

    -If you have live near any Asian stores, see if they have any chicken feet. Get a few, halve them and add them to the stock. They will add an amazing amount of gelatin.

    -Hack up larger chicken bones a bit so that the marrow can easily leech out into your stock.

    -I use just enough water to cover. Simmering for as long as possible is ideal but I've had good results even after a 2-3 hour simmer.

  8. #8
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    Looking through this to see if there's anything I'd add... don't think so. Not too much vinegar, or use lemon juice instead of vinegar. Delia suggests fresh parsley stems - can't hurt. I typically also add a piece of kombu, as I assume lots of minerals will leech out. Put it all in the slow cooker for around 24 hours.

    If you had a bag of raw chicken bones from the butcher, would you roast them before using them for stock?

  9. #9
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    Roasting the ingredients (meat products etc) always makes the stock richer in taste. Don't forget some unrefined sea salt for the minerals it provides .

  10. #10
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    Another possibility for the acid if you're worried about it tasting like vinegar is wine.

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