Sunday, April 03, 2005

Chicken stock

I get the impression that every proper cook has homemade from scratch stock of various kinds. At least, many cookbooks give that impression. You're just not a real cook if you don't make your own stock.

I've had this pile of chicken bones and giblets accumulating in the freezer for quite a while, so yesterday I finally decided that it was high time to make some stock. I used Bruce Cost's recipe from Asian Ingredients. The big attraction of that recipe was that it isn't as specific as some other stock recipes. It's all very well to call for three pounds of chicken bones, but I don't have a scale, and I'm not getting one any time soon.

I tossed the bones, necks, feet, heads and thighs into my pot and covered with water. I added some ginger slices, brought to a boil, then simmered for four hours. The aroma of the simmering stock was maddening. Somehow I managed to survive without going completely nuts.

Today I used some of the stock for chicken noodle soup (with wide Chinese noodles). For some reason, I frequently get indigestion from normal (i.e., store-bought) chicken broth. This soup, however, was fine, and gave me no digestive difficulties at all. It needed some seasonings to liven it up, perhaps, but apart from that it was fine.

One thing I wonder about is the cloudy appearance of the stock. I know that Chinese banquet-style stock is clear, and I wasn't trying for that. But the cloudiness bothers me. I suspect that means there's a problem with the broth, or maybe I'm just being paranoid. Further research is definitely needed.

In other news, yesterday I noticed some green threadlike sprouts in the spinach pot. It looks like the scallions are beginning to make themselves known.


Winslow said...

On consulting with my mother tonight, it turns out that cloudy chicken broth is not the end of the world. Whew.

La said...

If I boil my stock for more than a brief minute, it gets cloudy. If I just simmer it gently it stays clear. Plus I do skim all the junk off the top once it reaches the first very brief boil. Then I add the ginger and scallions and other stuff.

Winslow said...

Hi laurel,

I have to confess that I got a very good boil going with the stock, because I wanted to make sure it was thoroughly cooked. That explains a lot. I skimmed a lot of the foam off at the beginning of the process, but once it got boiling, I just reduced the heat, covered the pot and left it to its own devices.

Thanks for the feedback! I might try simmering next time rather than boiling the bejeezus out of it.

Gastro888 said...

Simmer, simmer, simmer. Boiling will always make your stock cloudy. There's nothing wrong with a cloudy stock - it's just not pretty according to purists.

But if it tastes hecka good, then who cares?

Winslow said...

Hi gastro888,

It did taste yummy, with a lot of flavor from the chicken meat. I guess that's the important thing!