Saturday, June 13, 2009

Chicken Stock

My culinary experiments are often a burden on my family. I take more than my fair share of fridge space, counter space, and most recently, freezer space. I've slowly but surely been building a collection of spare chicken bones in the freezer, and directly proportional to this accumulation is my dad's impatience.

I really can't blame him though. Whenever he returns from the grocery store with no place to put the ice cream, I feel a tinge of guilt, and so just last week I decided to unload my stock of bones and make stock.

OK now let's talk stock. Last time that I made chicken stock I only used carcasses. I did get a decent stock, but it really had no body. I wanted to make sure that this one had plenty of body. This wasn't going to be a problem because I had saved lots of uncooked chicken wings for this purpose. Last time I didn't roast the bones, and I got a light, more mild stock. This time I wanted a rich, deep, brown stock. I roasted the bones for about 2 hours at 400 degrees, rotating them a few times to really get them good and brown (my house smelled heavenly btw). I cooked the stock for somewhere around 8 hours at a bare simmer on the stovetop. I added vegetables and herbs during the last hour.

The stock really turned out great. I cooled it in an ice bath in the sink, then let it sit for a day before skimming the fat of the top. The stock underneath was deep brown, and gelatinous. It wasn't thick like jell-o, but it had a nice little jiggle to it.

I'm really happy I made this stock. I do more abstract things like sous vide often now, and making stock takes me back to the basics. It keeps me grounded, ensuring that I'm fundamentally sound. Lastly, it's rewarding. I value making a good stock far more than making good chocolate chip cookies, or baking a good cake. And when you've made a good one, it's a great feeling.
(The unappealing pictures were taken by me)


Ryan said...

oh thats funny because I have a duck carcass sitting in my freezer and my sister has no place for her frozen food

Anonymous said...

re: your "Comments" post - I can't think of a more innocuous, yet insightful, blog that I read than yours. Those people must be nuts. Do what you do, enjoy it, and to h**l with the haters. Although I would encourage maintaining some semblance of freezer space for your Dad (I'm sure he's thrilled you made stock).

I'm a big fan - ciao

Cali said...

The longer you cook your stock the more body it will have. I never do chicken stock in under 12 hours, and I've let beef stock go for three days before and had it turn out so rich and gelatinous that I had to cut chunks of it off. It was perfection!

craigkite said...

I have had to avoid any experimentation with David Lebovitz' ice cream creations. I have absolutely no room for it in the freezer. Small kitchens or "shared" kitchens (other cooks/food preparers in the household) pose unique challenges. Wait till you are in an "equal" kind of relationship with a spouse that cooks. My wife and I get pretty possessive about storage space in the kitchen.
She disrespects my non-stick cookware, and has some closure issues. She kills zip-lock closures and hasn't fully closed a drawer or cupboard in decades. Imagine all the crap that falls in the top knife drawer (left open by a couple of inches) under the prep-area of the counter!

joyciel said...

Luckily for me my parents don't cook much, my kitchen is too small enough as it is.

That stock looks GREAT! I love stock, especially after an ungodly long amount of hours, the whole house smells really nice =)!

Jason Sandeman said...

Great job on the chicken stock. A couple of things:

1) Your first stock may have lacked body, but had a lot of flavor because you had more meat than cartilige on your bones. While it lends for good flavor, the body suffers a bit. Good call on the wing tips, they have plenty of cartilage.

2) Watch how long you simmer the stock for. Unfortunately, more time is not neccesarily a better thing. I have noticed that the geletin will start to go back into the bones after a long period of time. Try to keep your chicken stock short, no more than 6 hours, and you will notice a difference.

3) Great job on the skimming of the stock as well. I notice by your pictures that you have hardly any impurities. It is great that you took the steps now, because they have such a HUGE impact later on.

All in all, great job!

Tags said...

If you need chicken backs and necks, Stoltzfus Poultry in the Ardmore Farmer's Market next to Trader Joe's in Suburban Square sells them for under a buck a pound.

cook eat FRET said...

my freezer has 2 huge bags bursting with chicken bones and one hunongous bag of veal bones - plus 4 uselss skinned quails that will go towards the chicken stock.

but then the problem is - WHERE TO PUT THE STOCK????? the whole laying the freezer bags flat never works well for me as the bags always leak while thawing.

all this to say, that a cook without decent stock is like a day without sunshine. or something like that.

i don't use ruhlman's method - the pot in the oven thing. it's just too much of a pain in the ass for me.

Nick N said...

cook eat fret

I freeze them in little ice cube trays, then pop those little cubes into bags, and then freeze more in ice cube trays.