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Stock / Stew

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
I'm trying again. Last weekend I attempted to make chicken stock but ended with stew (I think that's what the concensus was). Whatever it was, I liked it so I'm trying to make it again and have a few questions.

My goal is to cook the chicken and veggies and eat them for dinner.

I put chicken parts, and an onion and some carrots and celery into a 12 quart stock pot, and then added cold water to basically cover the ingrediants.

It's on the gas stove top, and I've got it a lid on the stock pot to try to get it to boiling temp sooner. At that point, I'll take the lid off and let it simmer for some length of time.

I also added s and p and a bay leaf (any other suggestions?).

First question: once the mixture is on simmer, how do I know when the chicken is done, meaning safe to eat?

Two, should I have added the carrots and celery later so they won't be leached of flavor?

post #2 of 42
Chicken is considered done at 165(USDA recommendation). Or when it is tender and no longer bloody.
post #3 of 42
You're not really making stock if you're wanting to eat the chicken, unless you're cooking an old bird. One chicken isnt really the basis for a decent ammount of stock

Just my opinion.

You need some carcasses and all the veg mentioned. Bring to the boil and simmer for an hour. Skim off any scum. Strain and push through the strainer to extract all the goodies, then discard = chicken stock.

Oops Confused. Just re-read you're thread. Do you want to make a stock, or a stew. One is not the other.
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
post #4 of 42
Why do you want it to boil?

You can add the aromatics to flavor the cooking liquid, remove them when they're spent, and add fresh ingredients during the last part of cooking.

You might want to try using less liquid, also, try using stock or broth to poach the chicken and vegetables.
post #5 of 42

What you're looking for

Really, make a nice chicken stock first and discard the solids, then simmer your chicken and add your veggies according to the time it takes to cook them in the stock. By the time you get a really rich stock out of what you are simmering in the water- the ingredients will be over cooked.:chef:
post #6 of 42
Thread Starter 
I was bringing it to boil because that's what a chef did in a community education cooking class that I took, where he was making stock.

Do you think I shouldn't get it to boil before putting it on simmer?
post #7 of 42
Thread Starter 
If I make a chicken stock first, then I need to allow 4 hours or so to produce the stock?
post #8 of 42
Thread Starter 
This may sound like a screwball question. In addition to a cut up chicken, I put a pack of chicken legs into the stock pot, because my son likes chicken legs.

I was wondering, once the chicken legs are done, if I could put them under the broiler (for how long at what temp) to get the a little crispy. Should I coat them with anything if I do this?
post #9 of 42
You can start with the chicken, water, and veggies. Bring to a simmer(a boil will make the stock cloudy). After the chicken is done remove and debone it, return the bones to the stock and simmer another 2-3 hours. Strain this, add fresh veggies and cook until the veggies are tender, add the chicken meat back to it and get it hot. Your stew/soup is now done.
post #10 of 42
I know you read the Stock Tips article I posted last week. Some chefs boil and then simmer, others never get above a simmer. The stock should always be "smiling." The point of my question was to understand why YOU use the technique that you do. It seems that you're just mimicking what someone showed you. Not that it's wrong, but I'd have thought that by now you'd have developed more of your own technique and an idea of why you are doing what you do.

I don't ever boil a stock or broth - always simmer from start to finish. Boiling can emulsify the fat and mix in the dirt and scum that is generated when making stock or broth. While I can't speak for everybody, it seems to me that the only reason to bring the liquid to a boil is to speed up the process. Maybe someone can explain to me why they use that technique, what benefit it has.

One thought is that it may be a good idea to bring the water to a boil before adding the ingredients, turn the heat down, and then add the chicken and other ingredients. The water will have gotten hot enough quickly, but the ingredients will never have suffered the indignities of being boiled.
post #11 of 42
If you want to make a stew, you'll want to avoid it being watery and brothy. A good stew requires more depth in flavor and a different kind of cooking. Chicken stew is my all time favorite, here is my own recipe for coq au vin (french chicken stew) you may like. I've adapted it from a recipe I got on America's Test Kitchen.

- 1 organic chicken cut into pieces, and cut the breasts in 2 as well.
- 1 onion diced
- 1 carrot diced
- 1 celery diced
- 2 cups mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3 slices of bacon, pancetta, or lardons cut into pieces
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- s/p
- 2 bay leaves
- fresh thyme
- 1 tbsp flour
- butter
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 cup chicken broth

1. cook the bacon in your dutch oven (or whatever pot you're using, make sure it's not non-stick!)
2. Season the chicken pieces and brown the chicken in the drippings. You want it to be a nice golden color so that it looks like it's full cooked on the outside but it's actually mostly raw on the inside.
3. Remove chicken and pour out some of the fat. Some people like to remove the skin at this point but you don't have to. It can get a little rubbery when you stew it later but it definitely contributes to great flavor.
4. Sautee the onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery, and garlic until transluscent and careful not to burn.
5. Add the tomato paste, stir in and cook for a minute or two.
6. Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes to get the raw out.
7. Add the chicken broth.
8. Add the wine and herbs and simmer for about an hour.
9. Now you're ready to put the chicken back in. Add the dark meat first and the white meat 30 minutes later. Cook for an additional 15 minutes.
10. Remove the chicken and place to the side.
11. Set the heat on medium high and reduce the liquid halfway down (about 20-30 minutes).
12. Take out the bay leaves, and stir in 1 tbsp of butter for richness.

The vegetables won't fall apart too much if you cut them in big chunks, or you can add new vegies at step 10. Serve with rice, or mashed potatoes, or roasted potatoes, or even pasta!

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #12 of 42
Just curious - what kind of bay leaves do you use? California Bay Laurel or what is often described as Turkish or Mediterrannean? There are a couple-three others, but you're probably not using them.
post #13 of 42
Thread Starter 
Shel - you're probably giving me credit for more experience that I have. :talk: This is only my second attempt at this stew / stock approach.

And I did initially bring the whole thing to a boil because that's what the teacher at a cooking class did when he was demonstrating how to make stock. He went to culinary school somewhere, and has worked professionaly as a chef for over twenty years, so I figured there wasn't anything wrong with doing it that way. Maybe I misunderstood the class.

Anyway, thanks for your suggestions and explanations.
post #14 of 42
Oh, I'm sorry. For some reason I thought you'd been doing this for a while. You're still experimenting ...

No, there's nothing wrong with what the instructor suggested - it's just one way
post #15 of 42
When I was growing up, tough chicken (as compared to most chicken here in the USA) was the only chicken I knew. It was great for curry, because you could simmer it for a long time without it turning into mush, and in that time it would get a lot of flavor from the broth/sauce around it. That would be like stewing chicken here, I'd guess.
post #16 of 42
Sounds like the 6 pounder in my freezer :lol: friend insisted she could get it tender on the rotiss so I said go ahead. I figured I could always make it into soup later and I was right. I saved all the drippings so no loss of flavor and the roasted skin added some extra depth to the soup. I have another one of those tough farmyard birds to cook some day.
post #17 of 42
LOL big one :D You were wise to have another use in mind. Twice-cooked chicken, eh.
post #18 of 42
At some time or other I read, or heard, or saw it on TV, or I just grew up knowing, that when making stock, you should always start with all the ingredients in cold water, and only bring them up to the simmer, never boil, but keep the pot at the simmer until the chicken falls off the bones and the vegetables have cried for mercy. Something about boiling makes the stock cloudy? Then, strain out the ingredients and save only the liquid.

It seems a 'terrible waste' to throw away all that chicken, doesn't it? But really, there isn't much left nutritionally...it's all in the broth. If you just cannot bear to part with it so ruthlessly, mix it into the dog's dinner for the next couple of days.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
post #19 of 42
I agree with you. I was just hypothesizing why someone would bring the liquid to a boil and floating a solution.

I love picking the spent meat off the bones and nibbling on it. There may be little or no nutrition, but it sure tastes good. My cat likes it, too.
post #20 of 42
Depends on the chicken. The tough old stewing hens I get from a friend have a lot of flavor still after a long cook. I HATE grocery store chicken, it has no flavor.
post #21 of 42
I might as well toss in a comment or two on the whole process. Starting with the meat in cold water improves the extraction of the goodies from the bones. Bones are porous, the collagen and such stuff can be coaxed out more easily when the pores are more open in colder water. As the bones heat up, the pores tend to close up [1], making extraction more difficult. That's why you often see recipes for beef stock with big, hefty bones taking 10 - 12 hours or more.

If you are tossing in whole chicken parts, though, the bones are insulated by the meat and the early part of the extraction involves mostly the meat and not the bones. Starting with boiling water is fine in that case.

One suggestion is to begin with just the chicken, hot or cold as you prefer, and let it simmer by itself for a while. Skim the scum frequently during the first 5, 10, 15 minutes or so. When the simmer starts to clear up, less froth being generated, than add the veggies and spices.

And if you are planning on a stew or soup, I'll echo the suggestion to remove the veggies that have given their all to flavor the broth and replace them with fresh ones, and let them cook for maybe 15 minutes or so. The flavor of the first batch will be in the broth, the second batch will still have some character and flavor and not be lifeless mush, like the veggies in your first batch.

On a side note, there are a number of folks here who know a lot about cookng, and are willing to share their knowledge and experience. Pay attention, practice, continue to ask questions and you could become an expert in no time - will you still keep the username novice_01?


1. This is a different physical process than having a metal sheet with a hole in it stuck in an oven. As the metal with its uniform molecular behavior expands under heating, the hole will get bigger, not close up.
Don't put metal sheets in your chicken stock.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
post #22 of 42
Hmmm good question, I have no idea. My Mom sends them to me from Greece. She gathers them herself (I don't even know what tree they come from!) and then dries them. I'm guessing Mediterranean since she lives right on the beach on the south of Krete haha.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."


"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

post #23 of 42
I think I missed something...what metal sheets? :confused:
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
post #24 of 42
Not particularly.

Bones are porous, it's true. But, as far as I know, it's not true that "the collagen and such stuff can be coaxed out more easily when the pores are more open in colder water." In fact, the flavor and structure components are barely soluble at low temperatures. I'm not sure where the conclusion that the bone "pores tend to close up" at temperature comes from, but as far as I know it's not true either. The longer the bones are exposed to hot water, the more porous they become.

There's truth to this. Most of the flavor and structure components in the meat are already solute.

No. Boiling will make for a bitter stock. This is especially true in the early states when scum is produeced, because the scum can "cook in" to the stock.

This is great advice. You don't want the aromatics and herbs to be contaminated by the scum, nor do you want to have to fight them to skim the scum. I suggest you don't think of the aromatics (mirepoix, etc.) or herbs and spices (e.g., parsley, peppercorns) you use to flavor the broth as "veggies" at all. They should be strained and discarded. If you want to make soup by adding vegetables to stock, then add vegetables to stock. Don't expect them to do double duty by flavoring the stock then taste good in the soup.

Interesting question. When does he become 1oldpr0?

post #25 of 42
The trick to making stock AND poached chicken with chicken or turkey on the bone, is to remove the bird or the pieces from the stock as soon as the meat is perfectly cooked; separate the meat from the bones, reserve the meat and return the bones to the stock pot.

Everything else being equal an older bird will take longer to cook than a younger. Also, some types of birds take longer than others. Here in the SGV we have access to types of Asian chickens, raised for making soupls and stocks, which can be simmered for quite a long time and still retain flavor.

post #26 of 42
OK, I am not an advocate of any boiling when it comes to making stock or broth, however, so many recipes say to bring the pot to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer. My belief - and experience - is similar to what you've described.

So, why do so many recipes call for bringing the liquid to a boil? Is it to save time? Is it because of ignorance, or because that's what the recipe writer has been taught, or am I just obsessive and in need of therapy?
post #27 of 42
Everything else being equal an older bird will take longer to cook than a younger. Also, some types of birds take longer than others. BDL

Thats the way I was taught, cook them, take meat off bone, return bones to pot cook with more veges . We used what was called Fowl which were defined to us to be barnyard hens or roosters, which were real big and tough and could tolerate extended cooking.Years ago we didn't have what they call "free range" the old birds we got even came with feet and neck attached.
post #28 of 42
That reminds me of an old song lyric:

"My gal invited me to dine
I went prepared to eat
But all she placed
Upon my plate
Was chicken necks and feet" :eek:
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
post #29 of 42
Are you saying you can't get those birds any more?
post #30 of 42
To be honest, I also don't know where that conclusion comes from. Maybe something I heard or read years ago. I do know that I always start my stocks from cold and avoid boiling at any time during the process. Perhaps just a case of a good procedure followed for a bad reason.

As far as the metal sheet comment goes, that is a byproduct of a discussion on one of my sports car lists, forget I ever brought it up.

Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
Food nourishes my body.  Cooking nourishes my soul.
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