Rich Chicken Stock

Rich Chicken Stock

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).

Chicken Wing Tips

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.

Equipment you'll need:

Rich Chicken Stock
Rich Chicken Stock
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Rich full-bodied chicken stock to use in other recipes or to enjoy as a creamy soup.
Rich Chicken Stock
Rich Chicken Stock
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Votes: 4
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Rich full-bodied chicken stock to use in other recipes or to enjoy as a creamy soup.
Servings Prep Time
cups 10minutes
Cook Time
60minutes
Servings Prep Time
cups 10minutes
Cook Time
60minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 kilogram chicken wing tips
  • 1 kilogram chicken bones
  • 10 cups water
  • aromatics
Units:
Instructions
  1. Clean your chicken well, under cold running water. Focus on the cut surfaces and if you see blood coming out, squeeze the muscle tissue around the area to coax out any blood remaining in the meat. If you are using whole carcasses, use a spoon to scrape out all the dark organ bits inside the carcass, especially along the spine and ribs. Your chicken should be as clean and blood-free on the inside as it is on the outside.
  2. In a 7-10 quart pressure cooker, add the chicken and water and bring it to a rolling boil. Use a skimmer to scrape away the foam that accumulates on the surface. Keep skimming until there's no more foam coming to the surface.
  3. When the stock is clean, add your aromatics and turn the heat off.
  4. Secure the lid to the pressure cooker and then turn the heat back on high. Let the cooker come up to pressure (it will start whistling) and then turn the heat progressively down until you hear a slow gentle whistle. If the whistling stops after a while, turn the heat back up slightly. Set a timer for 1 hour.
  5. After the chicken cooks for an hour you can either let the pressure drop naturally or opt for one of the quick release methods for your particular cooker.
  6. After the pressure drops and you open up the cooker, use a large whisk to whisk chicken stock, breaking up the chunks into a pulp. This does two things. The first is that it breaks up any clumps of gelatin (formerly skin and cartilage) and dissolves them into the soup. The second thing is that the whisking will emulsify the fat into the stock. This is what gives your soup its thick luscious texture and creamy taste. After you're done whisking, pass the stock through a colander into another pot or large bowl, then press on the solids with the back of a ladle to squeeze out as much flavor as you can from the pulp.Discard the solids, then either wash out the original pot or prepare some containers to store your stock. Use a fine mesh (double mesh) sieve to strain your stock once again and store until you're ready to use. The stock will solidify in the refrigerator, this is the collagen (a.k.a. gelatin) at work and means you made a good stock. You'll also notice a layer of yellow fat with a thinner creamy white layer between the fat and the stock. You can scrape some of the yellow fat off and use it for something else, but don't scrape off all of it, and be sure to leave behind the thin layer of white stuff between the yellow fat and the stock.
  7. To melt the stock, just reheat it and use a whisk to emulsify the fat back into the stock.

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  • http://anewblog.squarespace.com/ Michael Allen

    For the life of me I’ve never been able to locate chicken wing tips, much less chicken bones of any variety, anywhere where I live (Richmond, VA). I’ve tried Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, my local Kroger, even the massive Chinese market that sells all kinds of butchered meats and fish (although I have to say I haven’t specifically asked the Chinese butcher himself simply because he always seems to speak little to no English). I had given up hope of ever concocting that sumptuous ramen recipes of yours while I still live in this city, that is until I saw this chicken stock recipe hoping that it would eschew (what for me seem to be) obscure ingredients. Do I simply live in a chicken stock desert?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Michael, I’m pretty sure the Chinese market should be able to get you the bones if you ask. Try bringing photos of chicken bones and and the wingtips above and asking. Also, have you tried asking the butcher at Whole Foods to save bones for you? Lastly do you have a butcher in town (not part of a supermarket)? If all else fails, you could just pick up whole chickens and debone them (2 chickens should give you plenty of bones for this). You can freeze and use the meat for other dishes.

      As for the wingtips they are admittedly obscure, but whole chicken wings(which you should be able to find anywhere) are a perfectly fine alternative. If you’re worried about the cost, Costco sells 5 pound packs of chicken wings for about $2.50/pound.

      • http://anewblog.squarespace.com/ Michael Allen

        Very helpful as usual, I really appreciate the tips and information Marc! I don’t know why I never thought to seek out a proper butcher in town… it looks like there’s at least one upscale butcher in town and another moderately priced one as well, both of which have gotten rave reviews, so I’ll certainly check them out. I’ll print out photos of the chicken bones and wingtips and try asking the butcher next time I stop by the Chinese market.

        With regards to Whole Foods, I think I simply asked the butcher if they had chicken bones of any variety that I could purchase to make a stock and they just said that they didn’t. I think I may have asked if they had any way they could save them for me to pick up at a later date and she said they didn’t (this despite the fact that I had read on someone’s blog somewhere that they were able to acquire chicken bones from Whole Foods but putting in an order and picking them up).

        I’d love to get the flavor and thickness imparted from the wingtips, but I might just attempt to make it the first time with whole chicken wings as a substitute. I’ll look into the butcher and the Chinese market again soon, and I’ll certainly post my results on here once I get the opportunity to try it out at long last!

        One last thing though – have you ever encountered problems with sanitation around fresh meats at a Chinese market or butcher? The one nearby me has always seems less-than pristine to say the least, and I guess I’ve always just been weary of buying fresh meats from them for fear of possible food sickness. Do you feel that this is a legitimate concern?

        • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

          Hi Michael, I think with Whole Foods it depends on the location and the person you get. I’ve been to really accommodating locations and others that are down-right rude.

          Regarding your last question, out of the half dozen butchers we have in Chinatown in NYC, there is only one I’ll shop at, mainly due to sanitation concerns. That said, since you’re going to be boiling the heck out of the bones, as long as the chicken isn’t old (bad color, bad smell, dried out), bacteria shouldn’t be a concern for this particular recipe.

  • Jacq

    I recommend taking this post and showing the Chinese butcher photos of the wing tips. He will probably understand your needs and get you what you want. ;-)

  • Natika

    This is great! Coincidenally, I just made a soup the other day using wing tips for the first time. I can attest that it was creamier and more flavourful soup than my usual method of using just bones. Now I want to try your whole method!

  • thefarnz

    I also use chicken feet to help impart the collagen to the stock. My stock solidifies like golden jello.

  • http://anewblog.squarespace.com/ Michael Allen

    I made your Tonkatsu ramen a couple months ago and it was everything I hoped it would be, that is to say simply unctuous. I want to dive in again, but using this recipe for the stock instead (including the aromatics of course). However, just a day ago I made a “chicken broth” as described by Grace Young in her book “Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge,” and it turned out to be very disappointing – so much so that I had to toss it. The broth had very little color (only a hint of yellow, far from the gold I got with your directions), and was completely opaque. I will admit that I was not paying the stock enough attention when I made it this time and so it came to a boil several times (is it supposed to be on a rolling boil the entire time you are skimming the scum that floats up?). Also, I used a whole free-range chicken instead of the wings I used before. The only other ingredient was a few slices of bruised ginger. The end result smelled off, musty even, like an overlooked turkey (perhaps this is gaminess I’m detecting?). I tried heat some up the next day to make a basic egg drop soup and see if it would taste fine when combined with soy sauce and egg… But I had to pour it down the drain before it was finished because the smell was so terrible (dirty even).

    I can’t seem to find any conclusive info about my experience on other sites such as chowhound. Do you think you might know what the culprit was?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi Michael, I can’t really comment on someone else’s recipe since I don’t have that book and don’t know how it’s made, but if you’re trying to get a rich stock, using a whole chicken won’t do it. The richness comes from the collagen in the skin and cartilage which is why I recommend using wing tips in my recipe.

  • SongSparra

    Marc if you aren’t already, marry me lol! Your food is to die for and most of my favourites are shown by you. My only question is, I’ve heard many times lately that it is not ideal to wash chicken as you can spread bacteria by doing so and that it is better to ensure safe and clean utensils/equipment and using the correct cooking temperatures than to do so.
    I was interested in what your personal stand is on this as you did state in this recipe to wash the chicken of blood etc?
    Also would like feedback on my chicken stock, I used the off cuts (tips/excess skin/fat) and cooked in water with salt/pepper/mixed herbs. It seemed to lack taste when used in a celery/potato soup and was totally gelled when cooled, soup as well lol. Guess something went wrong although it does taste great (using a few stock cubes and the all important Worcestershire sauce lol)
    Thanks so much for your time and thank you so much for your site.

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Hi SongSparra, regarding the chicken. The reason for washing the chicken isn’t about reducing bacteria, it’s about getting rid of as much extra blood (especially inside the carcass) as possible as it will darken the color and cloud the flavor of the soup. When you wash chicken (or anytime you handle it) you should obviously clean any surfaces it or its juices have come into contact with (which includes your sink, any dishes in it, and your faucet handle if you touched it with contaminated hands).

      As for your stock, did you include carcasses or bones? Skin and wing tips alone will not give your soup much flavor as they have a lot of collagen (which makes the soup rich) but not a lot of meat or bone (which gives your soup flavor).

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