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Old 01-27-2009, 05:47 PM   #1
Chad
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Default Chicken Stock & Immersion Chiller!

Grocery shopping yesterday I stumbled across bulk packed chicken leg quarters on sale for 37 cents a pound. It was clearly a sign that I needed to make stock again. I never knew omens came in the form of semi-frozen chicken parts, but you take what you can get. I bought two packs, 12 pounds of leg quarters, for a total of $4.46. I had to retrace my route through the store to add the rest of my stock making materials, but what the hell. This was too good to pass up.

Luckily, I brew. I repurposed the 32qt brew kettle that I use for brewing inside. There's no way a standard (non-restaurant) stock pot would hold enough. So, 12 pounds of chicken leg quarters, 5 pounds of onions and leeks, 3 pounds of carrots, a large bunch of celery (2.5lbs or so), six or seven cloves of garlic, a fistful of peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves went into the pot with 5 gallons of water, which brought everything up to the 7gallon mark on the pot. Actually, the chicken went in first and was brought to a boil so I could skim off most of the scum without having to fight my way through the vegetables. Then everything else went in. Held at about 190° for most of the evening. I topped it off before I went to bed last night and let it simmer overnight.

After removing the solids I had about four and a half gallons of rich stock reducing on my stove this morning. The house smells glorious. It's not as clear as I'd like but I'll strain it again after it's cool. I have a Rapi-Kool ice paddle, but I tried something I've been thinking about for a while -- using my immersion chiller to cool the stock. It's nice when hobbies intersect

It worked perfectly. The combination of ice paddle and immersion chiller took about 3.5 gallons of reduced stock from a boil to a refrigerator-friendly 60° in 20 minutes. I'm definitely doing that again. Makes me wonder if I could use Whirlfloc in my stock to clarify it

Chad

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Old 01-27-2009, 05:51 PM   #2
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Excellent idea. I think my wife is beginning to appreciate the usefulness of some of my brewing equipment as well. She has used my smaller stockpot for chickens (and now that I don't need it anymore, I'm still keeping it for cooking), and the extra refrigerator space is great for storing items when prepping recipes.

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Old 01-27-2009, 06:03 PM   #3
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Damn, that's a good buy. We're usually happy when we see quarters for 69 cents a pound.

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Old 01-27-2009, 06:20 PM   #4
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That's a great price for quarters...wish I could find that up here. I love making stock because it is so easy and you actually have control over the sodium and quality of the ingredients, but I always worried about possible contamination during the cooling process.

Odd question, but I feel compelled to ask it. Do you think with the right hop selection and quantity at 15 minutes to flameout would impart a nice citrusy aroma that would enhance the stock? Just curious on everyone's opinion.

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Old 01-27-2009, 09:46 PM   #5
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I'm sure as a professional chef you know better than me, but I usually only use the bones and the trimmings for a chicken stock. It feels like a waste to me to throw all the meat in as well. Does the meat add something to the stock? I'll usually roast a chicken and after quartering it, throw the backbone in a pot with veggies and get it heating up. Then as I eat through the rest of the chicken I'll collect the bones, break them in half and throw them in. The stock always turns out well and gelatinizes when cold. I split it up into 1 c. aliquots and freeze them in ziplocks.

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Old 01-28-2009, 01:52 AM   #6
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I also usually use carcasses for stock -- supplemented with wings, thighs or whatever is on sale that week. In this case, the leg quarters, a cut I'd not normally use, were at such a great price that it didn't make any sense to bone them out. At 37 cents per pound I could afford to be a bit profligate and throw everything in the pot.

The meat does add some richness to the stock that you don't get from bones alone. And the collagen and connective tissue on fresh (as opposed to roasted) chicken adds a little more gelling power. There is also a difference between classic white (unroasted) and brown (roasted) stock, a difference I largely ignore. I don't keep two or three types of stock on hand. I make stock from whatever I happen to have stashed in the freezer and what's on sale in the meat case. In this instance I made more of a white stock because I didn't feel like roasting everything.

Could I have pulled the leg quarters about an hour or so into simmering, picked the meat off the bones and returned the bones to the stock? Yes. Definitely. I would have had a couple of pounds of usable chicken for stews, salads, etc. and would have already extracted everything they were capable of giving to the stock. However, I had seven gallons of hot stock burbling away on the stovetop and I didn't feel like fishing around in it and burning my hands picking the meat off the bones when my investment was $4.46 for all 12 pounds of chicken. Laziness won out over total utilization.

Take care,
Chad

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