This is part two in a 3-part series about ways to make and use a whole chicken.
We love to roast chicken. Crispy skin, tender meat, and even the option to make jus or gravy from the drippings. But what about the carcass? In the past, I’ve always just thrown the bones away because I thought making a broth was “too much hassle.” Now that we have switched to buying organic meats, a roast chicken is at least $10 and I’m eager to get as much use out of it as I can. I guess that means it is time to learn how to make chicken stock.
Have no fear – this is an easy process! Just toss the carcass, some veggies, and a healthy amount of water into a pot and within an hour you have delicious homemade chicken broth! Had I known that it was this easy, I would have started making stock long ago!
I found this recipe on allrecipes.com. The most interesting part is the addition of the egg at the end. I had never heard of anyone adding egg to their chicken stock, but the recipe creator promised that it would clarify the chicken stock. He was absolutely right! My stock went from looking like a weird gelatinous mess to a nice, clear liquid. I asked my chef friend Dave the reason this works. He explains:
The protein strands in the egg whites are really all you need; the egg shell just helps to give the mixture some body for easier filtering after the magic, while the water just helps it distribute better before the magic happens.
Basically what’s going on is that the proteins (which are, or can be, relatively long chemical chains) in the egg are forming a “net” that catches all the bits that you don’t want. This net is actually called a “raft” and, with stocks that include knuckle bones and such, can form naturally without the egg addition.
So there you have it! Food science at its best!
Feeling exceptionally lazy? Just cut the veggies into 1-inch pieces and throw all the ingredients except the egg and cold water into a crock pot set on low and let simmer for 8 hours. Then proceed with the recipe as written.
1 pound chicken parts (I always use a cooked carcass for my broth since I want to use the meat for other things… alternatively, just use some wings and drumsticks for your stock!)
1 large onion
3 stalks celery, including some leaves
1 large carrot
2 tbsp vegetable oil
8 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 whole cloves
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup cold water (optional)
1 egg (optional)
Dice the onion, celery, and carrot in a food processor until pieces are smaller than 1/4-inch. Add the oil to a large pot, and let heat until almost smoking. Add the vegetables and sweat until they have released some of their juices, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken pieces, water, salt, cloves, and bay leaves. Cover and let simmer at a low boil for 1-2 hours.
Strain stock through a colander with a pot underneath. Skim fat off the surface. If you have time, put this in the fridge overnight. The fat will rise to the surface and solidify, making it easier to skim off more of the fat.
To clarify the stock for clear soup, separate the egg white from the egg yolk, and reserve the shell. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup cold water, egg white, and crushed eggshell. Add to strained stock, and bring to a boil.
Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Strain again through a cheesecloth or other thin cloth.