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Removing Fat from Chicken Soup / Stock

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I tried making chicken stock / soup a few nights ago. To make the base I cut a chicken into 8 pieces which I added to water - skin on - (along with the rib cage and other leftover pieces). The water just covered the chicken and added parsnips, carrots, celery, onion and spices. Brought to a boil and simmered for 10 - 15 minutes. Removed the chicken, pulled the meat off then put the bones back on and simmered for an hour.

I strained then reduced to 6 cups, let cool and refrigerated overnight. The next day the fat had solidified and I pulled it off with a spoon.

The stock was still really fatty. After sitting in the fridge it became rather gelatinous. What can I do to improve that? I suppose removing the skin would help a great deal...
post #2 of 11
No, leave the skin -- it adds flavor. And trust me, the fat will come away eventually.

What can happen if you do it the way you did is that the fat in the stock gets dispersed in tiny globules that stay there. One way to prevent fat from staying in the finished product is to do it in two steps: after you strain but before you reduce, let it settle so the fat rises to the top, then refrigerate it. Remove the fat, then reduce. Takes more time, but gives a less fatty product.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #3 of 11
one tip i learned is to skim skim skim skim skim........someone on here, perhaps ED, mentioned ice cubes in cheese cloth...also don't add the veg until an hour or so before you are done, after you've skimmed off most of the fat.

but, I'm still learning so take mine with a grain of salt.
post #4 of 11
Chilled stock should be gelitinous, RP. It's the collogen coming out of the bones that does it, and it's something you want.

I find that after removing the hardened fat from the surface, I can capture more of it by straining the stock through a fine sieve lined with several layers of cheesecloth. I do all this before reducing it.

Once I've removed as much fat as I can, I then use the stock to make my soup.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the tips! I will pull the fat off before reducing and try the cheese cloth!
post #6 of 11
The old ice cube in cheesecloth works well as does just toss some loose cubes in and take them out right away, wait till soup sits a while before doing this. Another qway that works is taking a paper towl and blotting top, and like someone mentioned above pass thru a fine muslin or cheeseclth lined chinoise.:bounce:
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #7 of 11
I also skim through the cooking process as needed.

What could you do to improve it? Heat it up and eat! As was mentioned that the beauty of homemade stock. It's a good reason to use home-made stock instead of store bought stuff. Ohhh that nice mouthfeel :)

dan
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yeah, actually it tastes wonderful but visually it was somewhat unappealing to those eating with the oil slick / tiny globules of fat look...
post #9 of 11
Then it sounds like we're talking about two different things. If you remove all of the yellowish fat that has raised to the top and solidified, you should be left with the chicken stock underneath. The chicken stock should be cooled into a gelatinous form. After re-heating the stock it will liquefy completely. The collagen is what gives the home-made stock a nice rich body and good mouth-feel.

dan
post #10 of 11
No, you're quite right. Many are assuming that all you have is collagen, but it sounds like you also have fat in your stock.

Tricks for removal include the ones mentioned (ice, fine strainers, etc.). Also:

Bring very briefly to a boil, add 1/2 cup cold water, stir, shut off heat, let cool to room temp., refrigerate. This can help break a partial emulsion and release fat. It's easy, but it doesn't work well.

Clarify, as with consomme. Put a bunch of very lean meat (e.g. skinless breast meat), preferably ground, together with some finely chopped vegetable mixture (same group you used in making the stock), and the cold stock in a pot. Add a bunch of beaten (but not at all whipped) egg whites; you can add the crushed shells to the meat/veg mix if you like. Bring slowly to a near-boil, stirring constantly. As soon as it reaches a near-boil, stop stirring at once, reduce heat as low as you possibly can (you should have to look very hard around the edges to see any evidence of motion below the surface), and wait about 1 hour. Shut off heat. Tilt the pot gently and very gently ladle off the clear stock, being careful not to break the "raft" of stuff that is floating on the top. (Julia Child has a lovely explanation of how to do this in Mastering The Art.)

If in the end all you've got is a few little droplets floating on the surface of otherwise clear stock, cheat: lay a piece of paper towel on the surface and remove immediately. It will absorb the little floaty bits (and a little bit of your stock, of course).
post #11 of 11
Then, of course, there's the question of how the fat got into the stock in the first place. Chances are:

1. you brought it to a boil too rapidly,
2. you let it get too close to a true boil,
3. you didn't skim enough,
4. you simmered it too fast.

All of these things will tend to allow fat to bind into your stock, making it difficult to remove later on. James Peterson recommends that it should take about 45 minutes to bring a large pot of stock to a near-boil, and then it should only get to a strongish simmer. Skimming should be done assiduously until there is no trace of fat or impurity on the surface. Simmering should be so slow that you have to look a bit to see some motion below the surface.

My experience is that he's right: if you do it his way, you end up with very little fat to begin with, and what there is will come right off when you chill the stock.
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