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Chicken stock newbie. A few questions....


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Chicken stock newbie. A few questions....

ElPsyCongroo | | Mar 18, 2014 10:37 AM

Im new to making stock. Its usually quite difficult for me to gather enough chicken bones and necks so I usually buy fresh made stock from the farmer's market. Well the butcher said I can just ask for his bones if I want so I bought myself the Matfer exoglass chinois to start myself off. As a big fan of Thomas Keller, I naturally gravitated towards his chicken stock recipe which is more of a white chicken stock. I also looked to James Peterson who practically wrote the bible on sauces. Made Keller's for the first time and it was definitely very light and I may reduce it by one third next time or maybe make a double stock if I have the time. There are some parts I want to clarify:
1. There is no mention of how one must skim. I felt like I overskimmed with the ladle as it seems a lot went to waste but then again, Keller says you can never skim too much. What is your opinion of a fine mesh skimmer? I would love to buy one but I dont want to waste my money only to find out that the impurities will still slip through.
2. Keller also mentions that one should ladle the finished stock through a chinois but not to press the solids against it as it will cloud the stock with impurities. When deciding on a chinois, I've seen many that included a pestle. While Keller advises against pressing against the solids, others have called for pressing against them to extract the most flavor. James Peterson is in the same camp as Keller and advises against this as well. While I will probably still buy a pestle for use in soups and sauces, im a little torn over which is more accepted.
3. While reading on what James Paterson had to say on the topic, he actually took it a step further and called for straining the stock first through a coarse chinois and then through a fine chinois. Why not just through a fine chinois?Im not sure how the addition of a coarse chinois would be more helpful than the fine chinois alone.
4. Peterson differs from Keller in that in addition to the chicken carcass (bones and necks), he adds a stewing hen. He says that the addition of a stewing hen will prevent clouding. Without it, he recommends sweating the carcass before use. How does using a stewing hen help prevent cloudiness? And can one still use the meat from the stewing hen after use in stock? I feel like I would like to add this next time as Im sure it also adds tons of flavor.

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