Chicken stock. Sage (pun intended) advice...

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Chicken stock. Sage (pun intended) advice...
« on: April 30, 2021, 21:00 »
Some advice I recently received (from an old aunty in Detroit, so not quite my nanna from Brooklyn) about making chicken stock. It's obviously when you think about it, and really works.

In the old days people didn't just buy a one size fits all chicken from the supermarket. They'd go to a butcher or market and buy the type/breed of chicken they needed for whatever they were going to do with it. If they we're going to cook the chicken and wanted to make a good soup with the carcass they'd buy a type that was thick skinned.

Chicken bones (or any bird bones, duck, turkey whatever) alone, aren't very good for making stock with as they are hollow (it's bird! all bird bones are basically hollow) so there's no marrow to speak of.

If you are making chicken stock the main component is the skin and cartilage and NOT the bones. Chuck the bones in for a bit of extra whatever but the skin is the main deal here.

I've been slow cooking the whole carcass for my chicken stock but also saving most of the skin and adding that and it really makes for a better, thicker stock.

Now the best bit about this is that these days, animal fats (as in the fat on the meat) isn't seen as the no no it once was. It's the processed fats - saturated and trans fats - that are the main bad guys and it's not, in the main, a bit of pork belly or marbled steak every now and then that is harmful - it's the dodo in your mars bar or ready meal. Even better - chicken skin/fat/gristle is like 85-90% pure collagen so it's not even on the bad fat scale!

So there you have it. One more top tip - when you've made and cooled your chicken stock the received advice is to skim and chuck away the fat that forms on the top. But then, when starting a soup off you soften the onions in butter or processed vegetable oil or whatever. No no no! wait until the stock is cold and put your veg in the pan and then sweat it in the top layer of yummy, chicken flavoured top fat! Trust me - best soup ever!

Like I say I got this lesson from my old aunt in Detroit - she lives in a district called 'Wyandotte' believe it or not (chicken fans will get the irony) but I'd be interested to know if this stuff is something people on this forum have always known/have been taught by their elders? I'm generally an advocate of old-time cooking being far healthier than modern ways (especially when they lean towards processed, mechanised ingredients).



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Re: Chicken stock. Sage (pun intended) advice...
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2021, 09:18 »
I knew about the use of skin and cartilage in stock, but it would never have occurred to me to use the fat from the top of the stock for frying the onions etc.  You can just imagine the flavour!
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