View Full Version : Chicken stock question

04-13-2012, 02:09 PM
I make chicken stock with some regularity, and I recently acquired the "Essential Pepin", wherein he says that one should not include the skin in stock making. This seems odd to me, that one would eschew the flavor component. Does anyone have any opinions on this? Would my stock be better without?
I could make 2 batches to do a direct comparison, but I think that I would rather not go to the trouble!
Thanks for any input!

04-13-2012, 02:23 PM
I'd guess it creates a lot more fat that needs to be removed, and may also result in murkier stock. Since you make chicken stock on a regular basis, why not give it a shot with no skin next time?

We usually make it w/ carcasses left from whole chickens -- which have very little skin left on them -- but also from bone-in thighs and wings with skin. The latter definitely creates a lot more fat that needs to be removed.

Mucho Bocho
04-13-2012, 02:31 PM
Spike, I haven't bought chicken stock in at least ten years. Here's how to do it:


1.) Add purified water enough to cover the bones. Because I de bone my own chicken, I always have a frozen bag of carcasses in the freezer. Cook the bones and water with a little salt for 60 minutes under high pressure. Shut off the pot and let it cool naturally or run cold water over the lid till the lid releases.

2.) Add mirepoix to stock. If you don't have enough room, remove some bones. Cook for another hour.

3.) When the pot cools so that you can open it, just strain stock and let cool. You'll end up with a nice fat cap that you can scrape off easily.

Your stock should be so thick when cooled that it should wiggle for at least 20 seconds.

Skin won't add much flavor to your stock because it primarilly fat and we know how water and fat feel about each other.

04-13-2012, 03:51 PM
Skin or no skin? I think that nice yellowish skin from good quality chickens would add extra flavor, so I don't see the harm in it. After all, the traditional Julia Child recipe that I use for Coq Au Vin calls for 10pc cut chicken with the skin on and it's a low and slow braise. I rarely have to skim much fat off, just a bit at the end. Same goes for chicken curry.

Practically, though, the chicken that I use for stock rarely has much skin left on it. If you're buying backs specifically for stock though, they will have some good skin.

My technique:

I stock all chicken, turkey and Cornish game hen (these are especially good) bones in the freezer until ready to use. I will also use the bones from the convenience roasted chickens I buy from our local supermarket (they use grain-fed, hormone free birds and I don't waste anything).

I also keep all good vegetable scraps in a large Ziploc bag in the vegetable crisper-carrot tops (including greens) and peelings, celery hearts and leaves, onion and red onion skins, garlic ends and skins, leftover herbs are all fair game.

I like a dark chicken stock for soups and chicken glace, so I roast all the poultry bones and vegetables for 20-30 minutes at 375 degrees.

Then place in stockpot and cover with COLD water (this is the key to clear stock), turn up to high until coming to a boil and IMMEDIATELY turn down to a simmer for a good 2 hours. I let it cool overnight, skim the fat off and strain slowly and carefully through a cheesecloth-lined strainer.

04-13-2012, 05:35 PM
I think the chicken skin just adds oil and makes it fatty just more to skim off from my reading.

04-13-2012, 11:07 PM
Skin or no skin? I think that nice yellowish skin from good quality chickens would add extra flavor, so I don't see the harm in it.

Good quality chicken doesn't have yellow skin. That's some weird **** Purdue does to their birds. I use organic free range chicken. No yellow there.

Andrew H
04-13-2012, 11:26 PM
Good quality chicken doesn't have yellow skin. That's some weird **** Purdue does to their birds. I use organic free range chicken. No yellow there.

I always thought that 'bad' chicken (like Purdue) had yellow skin and 'great' chicken (the person down the road that is retired and raises chickens) had yellow skin. I thought that at some point poultry inspectors decided that chickens with yellow skin were healthy (because it generally meant a diverse diet and sunshine) so Purdue and other large chicken companies modified the feed so the chickens would have yellow skin.
Is that completely off base?

04-14-2012, 12:02 AM
I think marigold petals in the feed makes the skin yellow.

sachem allison
04-14-2012, 12:05 AM
Why are some chickens yellow skinned and some white?

A chicken's skin color comes from the diet it was fed and the same bird could have a white skin or a yellow skin, depending on what it ate. The diet that produces a yellow skin is more expensive than the usual diet, but the people at Perdue Farms feel it's worth it because a yellow skin color is one of the fastest ways Frank's inspectors have of finding and disqualifying an inferior bird. If a bird is sick or off its feed, it doesn't absorb nutrients well and won't develop the rich golden color that is characteristic of Perdue birds. Also, if part of a bird's outer skin is "barked", that is, rubbed off due to rough handling during processing, the Perdue inspectors can detect it more easily than with a white-skinned bird. Detecting and removing and chicken with a barked skin is important because damaged skin shortens the shelf life and dries out and toughens the meat. No white colored chickens get by the inspectors. Sometimes when I open a package of chicken, there's a pungent odor that doesn't smell spoiled, but it's definitely unpleasant. Should I throw the chicken out?

If the odor lasts only a matter of seconds, your chicken is probably fine. Meat is chemically active, and as it ages, it releases sulfur. When you open a bag that doesn't have air holes, you may notice the accumulated sulfur, but it will quickly disperse into the air. In fact, I've heard of cases where a wife will lean over to her husband and say, "Smell this, I think it's gone bad." He'll take a deep whiff and find nothing wrong with it. She'll take another sniff and then wonder if it was her imagination. It wasn't. It's just that once the package was opened, the sulfur smell faded into the air like smoke rings.

If the chicken still smells bad after a couple of minutes, that's an entirely different story. The problem is bacterial spoilage or rancidity or both. Return the chicken to the store where you bought it and write to Frank. If a chicken's been around too long you can smell it, and if you can't detect it at room temperature, you probably can as it cooks, since rancidity is more obvious at higher temperatures. Rancidity can occur without bacteria if the freezer where the meat was stored wasn't cold enough or if the product was kept there for a very long time, such as more than six months for uncooked chicken, or more than three months for cooked chicken. (By the way, I don't like to focus on this unpleasant stuff, but I do want you to get your money's worth when you're buying chicken.)

Andrew H
04-14-2012, 12:06 AM
I think marigold petals in the feed makes the skin yellow.

I thought it was just carotene, which could come from marigold petals or corn.

sachem allison
04-14-2012, 12:07 AM
from the Perdue site

04-14-2012, 12:40 AM
+1 on using the skin. Light on the skimming.