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Old 09-05-2007, 04:53 PM   #1
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Skimming Simmering Chicken Soup

I am going to be making a batch of chicken soup. My bubbe (grandmother) always insisted on skimming the scummy foam that rises from the cooking chicken as it starts to simmer. No real explanation; it's just always the way she does it.

I find it a completely onerous task, but do it anyways. My question: does it really matter? I think I recall something about it keeping the broth clear or something, but I also strain the broth after cooking and refrigerate overnight to solidify and remove the fat.

Anyone want to weigh in on this?

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Old 09-05-2007, 05:00 PM   #2
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Yes, you should skim it and simmer it gently, otherwise the scum (impurities and proteins) gets emulsified into the broth. Once emulsified, it cannot be strained out. Besides making the broth look sort of greyish and unappetizing it also can make the broth taste funny.

Also, gentle simmering keeps the fat from being emulsified into the broth. Like the impurities, once that happens it is very hard to remove.
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Old 09-05-2007, 05:07 PM   #3
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Yes, I skim also. It most definitely helps to keep the broth clear and is basically just scum and impurities that float to the surface. Something you don't want in your finished product but certainly wouldn't hurt you.
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Old 09-05-2007, 05:11 PM   #4
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Skimming is one of the reasons bubbe's chicken soup was so good.
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Old 09-05-2007, 06:39 PM   #5
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Another skimmer here, muzzlet. Even though it's a tedious task, it's well worth it when you taste and see the finished product. I put the skimmed "scum" into a bowl and give it to my kitties as a treat. They think they're getting a gourmet treat.
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:18 PM   #6
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I also skim
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:20 PM   #7
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Yes, to all of the above. Skim.
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Old 09-05-2007, 08:55 PM   #8
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I have made thousands of gallons of soup in my career as a professional cook/ Chef/
restaurant owner and I have all ways skimmed the stock/broth/soup it give you a better looking soup and you do not want those nasty's in your soup. Do like Kate give the skimmings to your cat or your neighbors cat if none available go get one from the pound
>;-)))) smile
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Old 09-06-2007, 09:22 AM   #9
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I guess the consensus is clear (as is the broth!). I sort of figured this would be the answer, but I was just hoping for a way out!! I never thought of giving it to the cat; she thanks you all!!
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Old 09-06-2007, 09:38 AM   #10
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No easy way to great chicken soup, Muzz... besides, your Bubbe would come back and slap you if you cut that corner!! I know mine would (and also if I ever called her "Bubbe!" She insisted she was American and only wanted to be called "Grandma.")
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Old 09-06-2007, 10:15 AM   #11
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What do you guys use to skim with? I used to use a wide shallow long-handled ladle. It was really tedious and exasperating because you have to keep avoiding getting too much of the liquid and this requires hair-trigger dexterity. Also, there's that dripping mess when you transfer the liquid gunk from the ladle to the collecting bowl.

Then I found a skimmer! A wide, flat, ultra-fine mesh sieve with a long handle. Skimming is a breeze now. It's actually even fun! I just keep skimming with carefree abandon and only the bubbles and the scum get lifted out. No drips too!

Also, the trick to skimming is to start with the chicken/meat/veggies in cold water then let it all come up to a gentle simmer. Skim frequently and do not let the pot boil.

Hey, you're feeding your soul, so why not skim frequently? ;-)
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Old 09-06-2007, 03:28 PM   #12
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OOOOHHH OOOHHH Chopstix: Please tell me this is not something that is only available in Thailand!?!?! Do you have a picture of it? Where can I get one? It sounds like the answer to my prayers! Ok, it's not really THAT bad. But it is not my favorite chore.
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Old 09-06-2007, 03:48 PM   #13
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Ive got this skimmer, it does a good job on skimming chicken broths and for small batches of fried shrimp, pork or chicken.

I tried using something like this once, but the mesh is so fine that it got clogged really easily.

There are many types of skimmers to choose from including fine mesh skimmers.
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Old 09-06-2007, 04:14 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keltin View Post
including fine mesh skimmers.
The one I use looks like the one in your example above, keltin, except my handle is a bit shorter. I love it. Had it for years and don't remember where I got it.
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Old 09-06-2007, 04:16 PM   #15
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A fine mesh strainer or seive will do the trick.
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Old 09-06-2007, 05:14 PM   #16
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I have a simple table spoon, I drilled a whole bunch of little holes (about 3/32) in it and it works great.

Skimming Rules! Go Bubbe!
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Old 09-06-2007, 09:45 PM   #17
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Muzz, mine is a different brand but looks like the Calphalon Stainless Skimmer featured in Keltin's last link labeled fine mesh. I found it in Singapore and I think cost no more than 4 us dollars. It comes in different sizes.

I love my skimmer. It has multiple uses too, such as for lifting deep fried items from the oil, or removing fried bits to clean up the oil for more frying. Another use is for de-fatting stock: After I chill my stock and the floating fat has solidified, I use the skimmer to lift off all the lard. If there are still tiny lard pieces remaining, I strain the stock through this skimmer.

Did I say I love my skimmer?:-)

You ought to get one Muzz. Imagine yourself skimming away happily in the kitchen....
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Old 09-07-2007, 08:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
A fine mesh strainer or seive will do the trick.
Another skimmer here and I use what Andy uses.
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