Making chicken stock is simple, add bones, aromatics and water into a pot and cook them for a long time. I’ve shared my technique for making clear chicken consumé with perfectly cooked meat, but what if you want want a rich creamy stock to use as an ingredient, or for making an unctuous soup like chicken ramen?
The trick to getting a rich creamy soup is to use parts of the chicken that have a lot of collagen and fat, cooking them long enough to allow the collagen to break down into gelatin, and then emulsifying the fat into the stock.
The best parts of the chicken for their combination of skin, cartilage and well exercised meat are the wing tips. This is the part you usually use as a handle when you’re chowing down on buffalo wings. My butcher happens to separate the wing tips from the meaty part of the wing, so I can pick up a big bag of them for about a dollar. If you ask around and can’t find anyone to sell you just the wing tips, whole chicken wings will work as well (your stock will just be a lot more expensive).
While the wing tips have a ton of skin and collagen, they don’t have much in the way of bones, which is why I like to use a 50/50 mix of wing tips and other chicken bones (leg bones, carcases, etc). This gives you the best of both worlds, in that you get a rich creamy texture from the wing tips and full-bodied chicken flavor from the larger bones.
Getting a soup that’s light in color is all about reducing the amount of blood that gets mixed into the soup. One way to do this is to boil the bones once and dump out the water. This is the method I use for my Beef Pho and Tonkotsu Ramen because the bones involved are very large and because both beef and pork can have a gamey taste that the first boil helps tame. I don’t like using this method for chicken because it’s milder in flavor and because you lose a fair amount of that flavor when you do a double boil.
Instead, I start by scrubbing away as much blood as I can before cooking the bones, and then diligently scoop off the brown foam that floats to the surface. The foam is created by the proteins in the blood coagulating and will not only give you stock an off-flavor, it will turn the soup brown unless it’s removed.
As for aromatics, what you add depends on the kind of stock you want to make. If you want a standard stock, try celery greens, carrots, onions, bay leaves, and black pepper. If you want a ramen stock, fry some garlic, ginger and scallion whites until nearly burned. If you want to go for something more southeast asian, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, garlic and star anise make a great combo.
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