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Old 06-17-2005, 07:48 PM   #1
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Exclamation HELP - Chicken Stock Disaster

Yesterday I made chicken stock from 1.5kg of chicken wing tips (plus all the other veges etc). I have made stock a hundred times from raw chicken offcuts & it has always turned out brilliant. This was the first time that I used only raw wing tips (saved-& frozen-from multiple chicken wing dinners). Now, I know they are fatty so expected the stock, after spending the night in the fridge, to have a fairly decent layer of fat on it but THE WHOLE 5 LITRES WAS LIKE GELATINE - NO LIQUID AT ALL. It wasn't hard - when I went to scrape the fat from the surface the stock felt "thick". I placed the spoon deep into the pan to find the whole lot was like jelly. Has this happened to anyone else?? What did I do wrong?? I've searched far & wide for an answer but have come up empty handed. I would really appreciate any advice.

Thanks, SK

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Old 06-17-2005, 08:09 PM   #2
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Oh My Dear! That gelatine is what you are looking for! When you heat it up, it will melt and become a beautiful chicken stock. You may want to thin it with a little water...wait till it melts and see. (Melt it in the nuke or over med/low heat.)
If you want to clarify it, run it through some cheesecloth after heating.
The gelatin comes from boiling the bones, and is quite delicious and very healthful. Since your chicken wingtips were mostly bone, you got a lot of it.
It will make wonderful soup...just add noodles, fresh vegies (discard the old ones), season with S&P, some fresh parsley, and enjoy. I like to add garlic to mine as well. You can replace the noodles with rice or barley if you wish, and add some chopped cooked chicken.

You can also freeze it in quart-sized ziplocks to use in recipes calling for chicken broth. It's a lot better than the canned stuff.
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Old 06-17-2005, 08:15 PM   #3
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Question

Constance, it felt very greasy though so I thought fat had infused through the liquid somehow! Why have none of my other stocks turned out like this? They have always had the layer of fat float to the surface and the rest has been a very non greasy liquid stock full of flavour.

Cheers, SK
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Old 06-17-2005, 08:19 PM   #4
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Oops - gotta go to my son's soccer match - I'll read everything when I get back. Thanks for all your help!

SK
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Old 06-17-2005, 09:42 PM   #5
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I'm with Constance, you made some real stock!

The gelatin comes from skin and bones - and that's mainly what chicken wing tips are. If you simmer a whole chicken (meat, skin, bones) you'll get the same thing. Gelatin can have a greasy "feel" but not be greasy.

Now, in making a stock you should not boil it - only simmer it uncovered, without stirring it. If you boiled it or if you stirred it a lot (especially if you did not skim the fat from the surface before stirring) - you could have caused some of the fat and stock to emulsify ... which would make it greasy. In that case ...

1. Add 500ml to 1 liter of water to the stock and stir it to combine.
2. Slowly bring it up to a simmer (about 170-F/77-C) - you do not want it to come to a boil.
3. Allow to simmer for an hour or two uncovered - skim the fat as it rises to the surface. DO NOT STIR.
4. Strain through 4 layers of cheese cloth and allow to cool - you can then remove any additional fat that comes to the surface.

When it cools it will still be a lovely, rich, gelatin ... but it melts easily and can be thinned with additional water if you want - but I would melt it and taste it before diluting it.
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Old 06-17-2005, 11:51 PM   #6
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Gelatin is created when collagen, found in connective tissues, is cooked for long periods with moist heat (poaching, simmering, smoking, steaming, etc.). The collagen breaks down and becomes Gelatin. This is why certain tough cuts of meat become tender after long cooking periods; the tough connective tissues have broken down.

Chicken wings have lots of connective tissues, such as cartiliage, along with tendons. Using chicken wings are a great, cheap, way of making a rich stock. And if you like using chicken wings, try turkey wings, if you can find them.
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Old 06-18-2005, 02:58 AM   #7
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Thank you SOOOOOOOOO much guys - you have answered my question (& then some). Yes, I did stir the stock (something I have never done in the past - don't know why I did it this time except that I do remember doing it!!). Usually I just let it simmer undisturbed but I was in the kitchen doing a whole lot other cooking so thought "how is that stock doing" & would give it a gentle stir. Do you realise that there is no recipe for stock (that I have ever found) that tells you NOT to stir. You guys rock - you have told me exactly what I needed to know (& thanks too to Constance for her initial response which made me think I was on the right track but did something wrong). I love this forum!!!!!!! And now the funny bit - before I found you guys I was convinced the whole batch was a disaster & flushed it down the loo!!!! Doh!!!!!!!!!!!!

XXXXXXXXXX
SK
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Old 06-18-2005, 07:28 PM   #8
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I've never seen a recipe for stock that says don't stir either! But, then on the other hand, I've never seen one that said to stir it.

All I have ever read, in a few recipes, is to simmer "undisturbed" and skim the scum (that brown foamy stuff which is coagulated proteins) and fat as it rises to the top. I guess that would count for ... don't stir? This advice was given to prevent the stock from becoming "cloudy" - nobody ever explained that boiling or stirring would cause the fat to emulsify and break up the coagulated proteins and hold them in suspension, which is what makes the stock cloudy.

Collagen is composed of three protein chains that are wound together in a helix like a rope to give strength to connective tissue, bone, and skin. When heated, these protein molecules unwind and form a "network" which is capable of trapping water between the strands sorta kinda like gluten in bread dough traps CO2 produced by the yeasts. These unwound protein strands are gelatin.

Commercial stocks that are liquid (assuming they are actually stocks and not just broths) are liquid because they are cooked for much longer and then heated above boiling to break down the protein chains into shorter molecules (so they don't gel) and also coagulates any remaining soluable proteins which can be filtered out.

It doesn't take much gelatin to jelly your stock - only about 1-2 percent.
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Old 06-18-2005, 07:51 PM   #9
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Thanks Michael - it makes perfect sense now (especially since you used the gluten / yeast CO2 parallel). I am just about to make another batch of stock but, this time, I WON'T TOUCH IT AT ALL!!!!!! Will post how it comes out this time - should be A1.

Cheers SK
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Old 06-23-2005, 08:18 AM   #10
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Oh, how funny! Must say when I was young I mistook the gelatin around cold meats and such for fat, also. They are NOT. The gelatin is what separates stock from broth from boullion. It is pure protein. Thanks, Michael, you're our very own food scientist. I have never used a recipe for stock, just toss in the bones and vegs and let 'em do their own thing. I don't think stirring or not has much effect. Once you put it in the fridge, the fat will rise to the top and you can take it off and toss it. Sometimes it is a lot (in which case it will be hard and really easy to crack, take off and throw away), sometimes there won't be a lot (which actually makes it harder to discard). By the way, some people would think you're insane for discarding it. In the winter I often SAVE IT and use it ... duh ... as what it is ... schmaltz .... my husband makes cassoulet once a year, and I put a bit aside for it. Yummyumm.
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